Problems Experienced Before and After Knee Replacement Surgery

Submitted by Nic on October 16, 2012

Choosing to go in for a knee replacement surgery is not an easy decision. You may be a bit reassured to know that more than 95% of knee replacement surgery patients have seen a significant improvement in the overall quality of their life, with reduced pain and better mobility.

However, there are a few knee replacement surgery problems too that you need to consider carefully, before you decide to get operated.

There are certain risks associated with most medical procedures. During the surgery, you may be at a risk of -

  • Excess bleeding
  • Infections in the knees, lungs or the urinary tract
  • Breathing problems because of general anesthesia
  • Allergic reactions to medication used during the procedure

However, the chances of a serious complication, like a stroke or a heart attack, during the surgery are slim. According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, less than 2% of knee replacement surgery patients experience any serious problems.

After going in for a knee replacement surgery, it is important for you to follow the aftercare steps specified by your physician. Make sure that you -

  • Take the right medication for managing the pain
  • Go through physical therapy for at least 3 months
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Get adequate amount of rest and exercise

However, there are a few side effects of knee replacement surgery that may crop up during the recovery stage. Some of the common problems after knee replacement surgery include -

  • Bacterial infections
  • Drainage from the surgical site
  • Formation of blood clots
  • Hematoma or bruising if blood collects around the skin or the new knee joint
  • Knee stiffness
  • Pain and swelling in the knee
  • Redness and tenderness

Most of the knee replacement recovery problems mentioned above are not very serious and can be prevented or treated by a doctor. However, in a few cases, the problems after knee replacement surgery can be a bigger concern, like -

  • Severe pain caused by the loosening of the new joint over a period of time. If this happens, you may need to undergo another surgery.
  • Wear and tear of the moving parts in the knee implant. The small pieces of the artificial joint can break, causing damage to your bone. Your surgeon may have to operate again, to repair the damaged bone and replace the moving parts.
  • Continued pain in the joints accompanied by other symptoms of arthritis. Some patients may notice only a slight reduction in the pain.
  • Allergic reactions to the metal used in the artificial joints. However, problem occurs only in rare instances.

Before you plan to go through the knee replacement surgery, speak to your doctor for ways to prevent any problems from arising.


  • Lachiewicz PF. Comparison of ACCP and AAOS guidelines for VTE prophylaxis after total hip and total knee arthroplasty. Orthopedics. 2009;32:74-78.
  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/knee-replacement/MY00091/DSECTION=risks
  • http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000375.htm
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