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Knee Replacement Surgery Risks

All surgery, no matter how small or large, carries risks. Whilst these risks are very uncommon, they do still occur from time to time. Mr Tai is happy to address any individual concerns you may have regarding knee replacement surgery at your face-to-face consultation with him.

Risks specific to knee replacement surgery include:

Infection of the wound
This is usually treated with antibiotics, but occasionally the wound can become deeply infected and require further surgery; in rare cases it may necessary to remove the artificial knee joint if infected.

Unexpected bleeding into the knee joint

Ligament, artery or nerve damage in the area around the knee joint

Fracture in the bone around the artificial joint during or after surgery
Treatment will depend on the location and extent of the fracture.

Blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Clots may form in the leg veins as a result of reduced movement in the leg during the first few weeks after surgery. They can be prevented by using special support stockings, starting to walk or exercise soon after surgery, and by using anticoagulant medicines.

Excess bone forming around the artificial hip joint and restricting movement of the knee
Further surgery may be able to remove this and restore movement.

Dislocation of the hip joint
This may occur at any stage after a hip replacement but is most common in the immediate post-operative period or when the hip replacement is beginning to wear out. Definitive treatment depends on the cause of dislocation but may necessitate revision of the hip replacement.

Excess scar tissue forming and restricting movement of the knee
Further surgery may be able to remove this and restore movement.

Leg length inequality
Hip replacement surgery aims to restore the natural length of your legs. However, this may not always be possible, and the operated leg maybe left slightly longer or shorter than before the operation. Even if this occurs, most patients do not notice a difference.

Dislocation of the Kneecap
Surgery can usually repair this

Allergic reaction
You may have an allergic reaction to the bone cement if this is used in your procedure.

Numbness in the area around the wound scar

A number of national joint registries have shown that approximately 15% of total knee replacement patients are not satisfied with their knee replacements. One of the most common reasons to be unhappy with a knee replacement is ongoing pain.