It is rare for someone with a knee replacement to experience serious complications. But like any other surgery, a knee replacement also has risks as well as benefits. It is always better to have an understanding of what could cause a complication during or after a knee replacement surgery to help yourself and your doctor to keep safe.
You have read the previous article about 47-year-old Rakesh who underwent a partial knee replacement recently and is now in the recovery phase. Rakesh is a sports lover and loves playing squash. Rakesh did not face any such problems during or post his surgery as he was well prepared with all the required tests and precautions that were needed to avoid any complications.
The two points mentioned below are very severe possibilities of complications that can occur after a knee replacement surgery. You must immediately report to your doctor in case you face any such discomfort.
- If you develop hot, hard and reddened painful areas in your legs in the first few weeks post your surgery. There are chances that it may just be bruising from the surgery, or could be a blood clot.
- Chest pain or breathlessness – This happens in rare cases like 1 in 100. A clot can form on your lung which is called (pulmonary embolism). This can be severe if ignored. It must be treated urgently.
Risk with Anaesthesia
Anesthetics are very safe, but we cannot ignore the fact that they do carry a partial risk of minor side effects such as sickness and temporary confusion. The risk of death in a healthy person having routine surgery is very rare as one in every 100,000 cases. The risk is higher only if you’re older or if you have other health conditions, related to the heart or lungs.
Complications in a knee replacement surgery are very rare and most are minor. These can be successfully treated. Below are some common complications that may occur.
- Wound infection: This is treated with antibiotics with which it usually recedes, but sometimes the wound can get infected deeply. This would require further surgery with by replacing the artificial knee joint.
- The ligament, artery or the nerve around the knee joint can get damaged.
- Blood clots may form in the leg veins lowering the movement in the leg during the first few weeks after surgery.
- Clotting can be prevented by using anticoagulant medicines.
- starting to walk or exercise immediately after the surgery.
- Unexpected bleeding into the knee joint.
- Excess bone formation around the artificial knee joint restricts the movement of the knee requiring further surgery to remove the extra growth and restore movement of the knee
- Dislocation of the knee cap or the patella bone: A minor surgery can be done to repair this
- Allergic reaction: You may face an allergic reaction to the bone cement if you are allergic to some medications.
Preparing for surgery:
It is very important to be as active as you can. Gentle exercises like walking help in strengthening the muscles. Months before your surgery, your physiotherapist may give you exercises that relax the muscles around your knee.
Some things that contribute to having a smooth surgery include:
- Getting a complete medical checkup before the surgery, including all blood and urine tests, x-ray, ECG, and any other tests that make sure you are healthy enough to undergo a knee replacement surgery.
- Your doctor’s advice regarding any medications you might need to stop or need to be replaced by alternatives before the surgery plays a vital role. These medications could include some medications for rheumatoid arthritis, as they suppress the immune system resulting in affecting the recovery process.
Rakesh is a very active personality along with fitness consciousness to a great extent. He took care of every detail that Dr. Venkat Ram Prasad had suggested him and went ahead with the knee replacement surgery with us. It was a very smooth procedure and Rakesh is doing very well with his prosthetic knee now. He will resume playing squash in the next 2 – 3 months.
You too can resume your sports with a knee replacement if you follow Rakesh’s style of healthy and active lifestyle with a holistic approach!
Dr. Venkat Ram Prasad Vallamshetla is one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Hyderabad. He has done his MBBS, MS Ortho (OSM), MRCS (Edin) and FRCS (Trauma & Orth) from Edinburgh. He has additionally undergone training and has worked in Birmingham for over 12 years with a specialization in Joint Replacement, arthroscopic surgery, sports injuries.
Sri Sri Holistic Hospital is a leading 100 bedded multi specialty hospital in Nizampet, Kukatpally, Hyderabad. Sri Sri Holistic Hospital provides high standards of healthcare with a combination of advanced technology and state of art clinical expertise. With more than 52 Internationally experienced doctors and 400+ staff, we served at least 50,000 patients so far.