While new technology and advances in surgical techniques have greatly reduced the risks involved with knee replacements, there are still some risks you should be aware of. Two of the most common possible problems are blood clots and infection.
Preventing Blood Clots
Blood clots can occur in the veins of your legs after knee replacement surgery. To reduce the risk of clots, your doctor may have you elevate your leg periodically and prescribe special exercises, support hose, or blood thinners.
Infection can occur when bacteria enter the bloodstream from skin or urinary tract infections. To reduce the risk of infection, your doctors may prescribe antibiotics for you to take prior to your surgery and for a short time afterward.
Other complications, such as new or ongoing pain, stiffness, fracture, bleeding, or injury to the blood vessels can occur. Serious medical complications, such as heart attack or stroke, are very rare.
Warning Signs To Watch For
To minimize the risk of complications, it is important to recognize signs of potential problems early and contact your doctor. For example, tenderness, redness, and swelling of your calf or swelling of your thigh, ankle, calf, or foot could be warning signs of a possible blood clot.
Warning signs of infection include fever or chills, tenderness and swelling of the wound, and drainage from the wound. You should call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
It is important to get instructions from your doctor before leaving the hospital and follow them carefully once you get home. Doing so will give you the greatest chance of a successful surgery.