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What problems might occur after joint replacement surgery?

Any type of joint replacement or surgery comes with some risks. They include:

  • infection
  • blood clot problems
  • bleeding or need for transfusion

Your surgeon’s experience plays a considerable role in controlling or reducing these risks.

Dr. William A. Leone, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

After joint replacement surgery the risk of infection remains a constant concern. It requires a constant “hypervigilance” and awareness. The incidence of infection is closely related to the surgical technique and gentle soft tissue handling. Also, if a patient has pre-existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart conditions or other medical problems, they must be fully understood prior to surgery and optimized so they can be managed post operatively.

It is important for the surgeon, as well as the hospital, to have significant experience and a proven track record with these surgeries.

Joint replacement surgery for osteoarthritis is increasingly common. Joint replacement surgery is performed for more and more people with osteoarthritis as the techniques for hip and knee replacement are refined, and as the techniques for anesthesia and pain control are improved. Rather than being limited by arthritis pain, more people are choosing to have hip or knee replacement in order to pursue an active lifestyle.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Problems sometimes come up after joint replacement surgery. Blood clots can form in your legs and travel to your lungs, which is dangerous. To prevent this, you will be given blood-thinning drugs in the hospital and to take at home for a short while. Infection of the new joint is another possible problem. You will be given antibiotics to help avoid this. In addition, you'll be shown how to take care of the incision to help ward off infection. Dislocating your new joint (knocking it out of position) and loosening the implant are big concerns for the first few weeks. During this time you need to use your crutches, walker or cane (if you had hip or knee surgery) and be very careful to avoid tripping or falling and moving your joint too far in any direction.

The most common problems that occur after joint replacement surgery are:

  • swelling
  • blood clots
  • limping leg length differences

A very rare, but devastating, problem after joint replacement is infection. Surgeons and other healthcare providers are working hard to reduce this risk.

Some problems after joint replacement surgery can include dislocation and infection.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.