Knee Replacement Surgery Complications

Knee Replacement Surgery Complications

A knee joint suffers severe wear and tear while doing immense physical activities or previous knee joint diseases. Some disease like osteoarthritis can cause wearing of the knee joint. It can result in the breakdown of the bone and joint cartilage. Most of the time the specialist doctors suggest their patient’s treatment options like medicine and physical therapy. It can relieve the pain and stiffness caused due to the condition. But, it is effective for some cases that have severe issues.


Doctors resort to the surgical option to overcome the issue like the damaged bone and cartilage. The surgery involves implanting artificial joints after removing the damaged part. The artificial joint is mostly made from synthetic materials, plastic or from metal for longer life. So, the invasive procedure can alleviate the pain and stiffness. It is estimated that around 90% of the knee replacement surgery is successful.


The patients feel and move well after the surgery. It helps them carry on with their daily tasks without any hassles. Unfortunately, 2% of the total knee replacement surgery results in complications to the patients. It ranges from blood clots to infections. Therefore, patients need to know about the knee replacement surgery complications before taking the decision to go under the knife.

Knee Replacement Surgery Complications

Every surgery involves a small amount of risk. The patient’s body reaction to the operations and the surgery itself determines the level of risks. The information is to provide insight into the possible risks and not scare patients from opting for the surgery. The most common complications can arise from the following:


The surgeon gives anesthesia to the patients before the surgery to avoid any pain. Once the general anesthesia takes effect, the patients remain unresponsive and unconscious to the pain. The surgeons can also opt for spinal anesthesia. It numbs the only the lower body or the leg. So, the patients remain conscious during the procedure. Both types of anesthesia can cause side effects on the body.

General Anesthesia Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • A headache
  • A sore throat (due to insertion of the breathing tube)
  • Drowsiness

In very rare cases, patients can experience a stroke or heart attack. People with lung problems, heart problems or other severe health condition are more prone to the complications from general anesthesia.

Side Effects Of Spinal Anesthesia

Doctors mostly opt for spinal anesthesia due to the fewer risk associated with it. Patients feel less discomfort after the surgery. So, the risk of severe drowsiness, blood clots, stroke, and heart attack gets reduced considerably. But, it is also not free from complications as it can cause:

  • Urination problems
  • Headaches
  • Allergic Reactions

In rare cases, individuals have experienced nerve injury from the administration of anesthesia.


Any wound or opening in the skin is prone to infection. The bacteria can enter the skin opening leading to inflammation and infection. So, it is important to take precaution after the surgery until the wound heals completely. An infection has the following symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Pus or other discharge from the operated area
  • Fever/Chills

It is important for the patients to seek medical help and take antibiotics to overcome the infection.


In rare cases, patients can lose blood too much. It can result in requiring a blood transfusion. Blood can also clot under the skin after surgery. So, it results in swelling, which needs another procedure to release it.

Blood Clots

It is the biggest risk associated with the knee replacement surgery. Blood clots formed in the damaged blood vessels worsens with slow blood flow. It worsens with the immobility of the patients after surgery. The blood clots in the deep veins in the patient’s legs are known as DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). The blood clots blocking the blood flow in the lungs is known as pulmonary embolism. It can become fatal to the patient’s life. So, the doctor may suggest the patients to use compression devices and legs movements to prevent clots.

Pain and Swelling

It is normal for the patients to experience pain and swelling after the surgery. In most cases, painkillers can overcome the discomfort. But, in some cases, the pain continues for a long duration of time. Therefore, it requires other treatments.

Artery And Nerve Damage

It is important to get the knee replacement surgery done by an experienced surgeon. Therefore, lack of experience may result in the surgeon cutting a nerve or blood vessels. It may lead to a loss of movement or feeling.

Allergic Reaction

People may have a reaction to the joint implants. The components used in the implants can cause the issue. It is mostly experienced in the metal implants that triggers the reaction. Metal allergies include:

  • Swelling
  • Rash
  • Blisters
  • A headache
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of sensation in the implant area

Therefore, the surgeon may conduct a metal allergy test before the surgery to avoid such complications.

Implant Failure

The joint implants used in the surgery is of the latest technology, but it is not foolproof. So, it is susceptible to wear, loosening, and stability issues. The joints failure can lead to immense pain. Hence, the patients may experience stiffness and discomfort. A second procedure becomes a necessity to replace the faulty joint and overcome pain.

So, it is important to talk to the doctor about the concerns and grievances before opting for the surgery. It will help the patients clear the doubts.