Considering a Knee Replacement?

Knee Replacement

Knee replacements, like hip replacements, are relatively common procedures to improve one’s mobiliy and quality of life. In fact, total knee arthroplasty (TKA) has become an acceptable method of treating severe arthritis of the knee.

Most patients who undergo total knee replacements are between the ages of 50 and 80. With the growing number of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, knee replacement surgeries are projected to near 3.5 million procedures each year by 2030.

Fewer than 2 in every 100 people will experience a serious complication; however, it is important to discuss all options with your doctor, including potential complications and any concerns you have about the procedure.

Knee Replacement Complications

Complications from a knee replacement can result from many different factors, ranging from surgical procedures to faulty devices. Common complications include:

  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Pain and soreness
  • Nerve and tissue damage
  • Blood clots

Common complications typically go away or improve significantly within weeks of the surgery. However, there are more serious complications that include:

  • Loosening, where the implant fails to bond with the bone
  • Infection, which can result soon after surgery or even months later
  • Instability and dislocation, where the implant wobbles or gives when weight is put on it

Loosening of the implant can be caused by a defective device, malfunction of the device or improper placement of the device at the time of surgery. No matter the cause, loosening is a primary cause for revision surgery.

Joint infections occur in less than 2% of patients; however, it is one of the most serious complications and a leading cause of knee replacement failure.

Instability is another reason for knee replacement revision surgery, accounting for as many as one in five revisions. (Source: The Bone and Joint Journal, Jan. 1, 2016)

Ask Your Doctor Questions About the Procedure

Knee Replacement ImplantAs with any medical procedure, you want to know as much as possible beforehand so that you can make an informed decision on your treatment plan.  Make a list of the questions you want to ask your doctor so that you don’t forget what you want to know. Here’s a list to get you started.

  • What kind of outcome can I expect? How will knee replacement surgery help me?
  • Do I have any other options besides surgery to relieve pain and stiffness?
  • What can I do to prepare before surgery to improve my odds of success?
  • What are the possible risks of having knee replacement surgery?
  • What can I do to lower my risk for complications?
  • What are the signs that I’m having a complication?
  • When should I call you?


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