Total knee replacement surgery is able to give the knee joint a new lease on life. It can be the ultimate solution to problems of pain and wear. The surgery is advised as a last resort and after the procedure is over, many will actually feel the results after a short time.
However, there are complications that may be experienced as well. The most common knee replacement complications are highlighted below and patients who go through the surgery should be well aware.
Swelling – This is one of the most common complications and may not happen at all in some patients. It may happen because of wear of implant material used in the knee joint. It will also happen as a result of overwork or strain to the joint. Infection of the knee joint can also cause the complications. Many times, the swelling will go away on its own. If it persists, consulting your orthopedic surgeon is in order. The surgeon will determine whether there is an infection or not by getting some joint fluid and testing it accordingly.
Loosening – This is said to be the most common of total knee replacement surgery complications. One of the major causes of this problem is faulty knee implants which are also responsible for a wide variety of knee complications. For example, some Zimmer and Depuy knee implants have been recalled. Many patients who received certain implants from these companies have experienced loosening and swelling problems. According to statistics 10% of all knee joint implants will loosen per annum.
Unstable knee – this complication has been found to occur in at least 1% of all cases. Weight gain will aggravate the problem as the knee joint simply becomes unstable. If left unchecked. This complication can lead to total knee failure apart from loosening.
Fractures – They may occur around the knee prosthesis. Fractures lead to pain around the joint and an X-ray will reveal the problem. 0.1% of all patients will suffer fractures. Braces are mainly used to correct this problem.
Vessel damage – This is another total knee replacement complication although very rare. Those who will be more prone to such damage are those who have undergone other knee surgeries.
Breakage of components – This happens when the joint implant is affected by pressure and weakness. It can break causing pain and devastation to victims. Polyethylene components especially tibial are prone to breakage. To remedy this total knee replacement complication, specialists will have to operate and replace the components.
Peroneal nerve damage – The signs that show damage of this nerve include tingling and numbness of the affected foot. In some cases, patients will find it hard to move or stretch their leg. This complication is treated using braces and applications of loose dressings. It is possible to overcome this problem without having to go through the knife again.
Scar pain – This is another total knee replacement surgery complication that happens mainly when patients touch the scar. The pain often goes away on its own without treatment.
Rigidity – It occurs when scar tissue form around the knee joint and limits movement. Through specialized movements, surgeons will try to move joint to the desired angle when patient is put to sleep to break the scar tissue formation. These are the most common total knee replacement surgery complications.