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Knee Replacement Surgery Poses More Risks Than Initially Thought

From time to time osteoarthritis or other joint deterioration calls for a knee replacement. This invasive surgery is safe when performed by a trained surgeon, but still poses a lengthy list of side effects, which is not always considered.

During the surgery, the doctor will remove any bone fragments or cartilage which has been damaged due to illness or injury. This is replaced with less natural materials to form a metal or plastic joint which works the same as the joint which has been removed.

The result of this surgery is a very tender area, which cannot function normally until it is fully healed. In that time, patients must be careful not to disturb the new joint, or a second surgery may be required.

Surgical Risks

While there are many side effects associated with knee replacement surgery, sometimes the risks involved are during the actual surgical procedure itself. Anesthesia is one such risk, as it is in any medical procedure. Allergies and vomiting during sleep are two ways which this medical practice can post problems for the patient. Fortunately, keeping a record of all allergies or past reactions to anesthesia can help your doctor discover which drugs work and which don’t work for your body and medical history. Medical News Today explains:

“Patients are more likely to have complications from general anesthesia if they have existing heart disease, lung problems, or other serious medical conditions. Spinal anesthesia causes fewer serious side effects than general anesthesia. Individuals are less likely to feel drowsy after surgery, and the risk of blood loss, clots, heart attack, and stroke are reduced.”

Following surgery, patients are at a greater risk of infection than individuals who have not undergone a surgery. This is due to the opening of the leg to remove and replace the joint, during which time bacteria can enter. Similarly, stitches which are used to close the wound can cause infection, particularly if they become wet or dirty.

Following Surgery

Once he surgery has been successfully performed there are alternative risks to consider such as excessive bleeding, artery damage, blood clots, and nerve damage. Patients may also rarely experience a failure in their new joint, whether the body rejects it, or the materials don’t hold up. This is not common, but it means that a surgeon must remove and implant again using a new material. The Mayo Clinic advises: “Another risk of knee replacement surgery is failure of the artificial joint. With daily use, even the strongest metal and plastic parts eventually wear out. Joint failure risk is higher if you stress the joint with high-impact activities or excessive weight.

Breathing and heart problems are also something to watch for following a surgery, especially if you have a history of heart or lung disease in your family. Your physician will give you or your family a list of possible side-effects to watch for in the month and a half during which you recover. It is crucial that the notice of anything abnormal be reported to your doctor immediately, whether you think it is serious or not. Sometimes something small can be a tip off that there are bigger problems to come, and it is best to nip them in the bud.

Caring Post-Surgery

If you want to avoid as many post-surgery risks as possible, the best way to do this is to take care of yourself. This means taking medicine when the doctor says to take it, not sooner or after, or skipping doses. It also means taking it easy. You will be able to move your leg the day after the surgery, but you still need to give your body time to recover. Web MD writes: “After knee joint replacement, people are standing and moving the joint the day after surgery. At first, you may walk with the help of parallel bars, and then a walking device — such as crutches, walker, or cane — will be used until your knee is able to support your full body weight.”

A bi of bed rest, plenty of fluids, and eating properly can go a long way toward your recovery. Not overstraining the area can help immensely with the fear of sutures breaking open, and following every direction from bathing to bending will keep you in the clear for unexpected issues with your replacement.

As with any surgery, your knee replacement surgery has every opportunity to go smoothly, offer you a chance at a new knee, and heal just right. In order to help your surgery and recovery go smoothly, relax, listen to your doctor, and do your best to keep pressure off of the new joint at first. Eventually, you will need to bend and press to increase muscle strength and retrain your leg on how to walk properly, but in the meantime, you don’t want to wind up back in bed.

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