Risks

Knee replacement surgery, like any surgery, carries risks. They include:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots in the leg vein or lungs
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Nerve damage

Signs of infection

Notify your doctor immediately if you notice:

  • Fever greater than 100 F (37.8 C)
  • Shaking chills
  • Drainage from the surgical site
  • Increasing redness, tenderness, swelling and pain in the knee

An infected knee replacement usually requires surgery to remove the artificial parts and antibiotics to kill the bacteria. After the infection is cleared, another surgery is performed to install a new knee.

Artificial knees can wear out

Another risk of knee replacement surgery is failure of the artificial joint. Daily use wears on even the strongest metal and plastic parts. Joint failure risk is higher if you stress the joint with high-impact activities or excessive weight.

Nov. 10, 2017
References
  1. Martin GM, et al. Total knee arthroplasty. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Sept. 24, 2017.
  2. Total knee replacement. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00389. Accessed Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. AskMayoExpert. Knee replacement. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
  4. Warner KJ. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 24, 2017.