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How to Avoid Common Risks of Total Knee Replacement

Once you have weighed the risks versus the benefits and consulted with your physician, it’s crucial to know how to avoid common risks of total knee replacement.  

Reasons to Have a Total Knee Replacement

When osteoarthritis has damaged the knee joint, and other treatments like  physical therapy, injections, or medications have not given enough relief, Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center may recommend knee surgery.

During surgery, the damaged cartilage and bone are removed, and your surgeon will implant an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, and other man-made materials.  The American Academy Of Orthopaedic Surgeons assures us that 90% of patients will experience significantly less pain post surgery and will enjoy better mobility.

Common Risks of Total Knee Replacement

Once you and your physician have made the decision to move forward with total knee replacement surgery, it is important to educate yourself on potential outcomes of the procedure and how you can help to ensure that your risk for complications are as low as possible.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia makes one unconscious until surgery is complete and can cause side effects from mild to quite serious. Headaches, nausea, drowsiness, and a sore throat are some of the milder side effects. Having a heart attack, blood clots, or stroke are among the most serious side effects of general anesthesia, and these more commonly occur when the patient has other health issues like heart disease or lung problems.

Doctor showing picture of Total knee replacement on tablet screen against blurred operating room.

Regional Anesthesia

Regional anesthesia only numbs the leg or lower body accompanied by sedation to relax the patient as they remain awake during the surgery. The complications or risks are less worrisome, but can still lead to trouble urinating, allergic reactions, headaches, and possible nerve damage at the needle injection site.

Tell the anesthesiologist if you smoke, take drugs, or drink alcohol as these may make you more susceptible to problems from anesthesia.

Infection

The risk of infection is always present since the skin is opened, which can allow bacteria to enter the body. After you return home from your knee replacement, be aware of the common symptoms of infection like swelling, fever and chills, redness, discharge from the site, and warmness. In addition, make sure to carefully follow all instructions given by your surgeon at Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center about how to keep the wound clean to prevent infection.

Pain and Swelling

These are common after knee surgery and normally a patient is prescribed pain medications for a short period of time to manage their discomfort. If the knee, foot and ankle begin to swell, apply ice and engage in some light exercise to encourage healthy blood flow.

Blood Clots

Having a blood clot is one of the most serious complications after total knee replacement. If a blood vessel is damaged and a clot forms, it can be life threatening. You can reduce the risk by moving around as soon as possible after surgery and wearing some kind of compression device to prevent a clot from forming.

Allergic Reactions

Occasionally a person can develop an allergic reaction to the metal in the implant. It shows up as a rash, swelling, or blisters. If you have had issues with metal jewelry, talk with your knee specialist about whether you should have allergen tests completed prior to surgery.

The best way to avoid any of the possible risks after a total knee replacement is to:

  • Follow all the doctors instructions
  • Move around and get on your feet as soon as you can
  • Use the knee but avoid doing too much too fast
  • Stay active and perform exercises per the doctor
  • Maintain or reduce your weight

If you are having severe knee pain and are unable to perform everyday activities, see your knee specialist  for treatment options.

As always, if you have any further questions, please contact us by phone or request an appointment online. 

Category: Knee, Knee Surgery
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