Disadvantages of Knee Replacement Surgery

Following knee replacement surgery, patients often require pain medication and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for recovery purposes (if it is safe). Unfortunately, these medicines may lead to side effects.

As opposed to simply replacing an individual component in your car, knee replacement surgery requires major surgery that often requires general anesthesia, including spinal or epidural anesthesia – an experience some find daunting and frightening.

1. Pain

Pain may be one of the many adverse side effects associated with knee replacement surgery, though it is typically manageable with medication. Pain can also arise during surgery itself if blood vessels or nerves are injured during an incision procedure.

Many individuals who undergo knee replacement suffer from persistent, excruciating pain that persists even with medications to relieve it, leading to emotional distress and diminishing their quality of life.

An implant may become loose or dislodged and not function as intended, leading to pain, swelling and an increased need for medication. This can result in discomfort and increased medical expenditures.

As part of your surgery, you will undergo anesthesia. This could either include general anesthesia (in which a gas puts you to sleep); regional anesthesia (which administers medication directly into your spinal cord, numbing you from waist down); or both options together.

Keep in mind that following hospital stays, you will most likely require a cane or walker, with stitches being taken out at follow-up office visits. Also avoid placing pressure directly onto wound sites and jump or jog without first consulting your healthcare provider, as this increases the risk of infection.

2. Unpleasant Side Effects

Knee replacement surgery can help people who suffer from knee pain due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other causes, including injuries. Studies show it reduces pain while simultaneously improving function for 80-90% of those a year following their operation.

But knee replacement, like any surgery, does come with certain risks. Some risks are medical in nature (including blood clots), while others could arise due to anesthesia or the procedure itself.

Surgical techniques continue to advance; however, quality orthopedic surgeons who specialize in fellowship-trained surgeries rely on established techniques proven to reduce both medical and knee-specific complications.

Some patients may benefit from partial knee replacements that involve less interference with the joint (unicompartmental knee replacement). But these procedures don’t always work due to weak ligaments requiring further surgery in 10 years after initial partial replacement surgery – an experience which can be painful and inconvenient.

3. Complications

Complications may arise during knee replacement surgery, including blood clots, knee stiffness and infections.

Surgeons will use either cement or press-fit metal tibial and femoral implants into your knee, replacing menisci and attaching a plastic button beneath your patella (kneecap). An interpositional device may also be placed to prevent bone growth into the implant.

Patients allergic to certain metals may be more vulnerable to implant rejection or loosening, and therefore have an increased risk of infection.

Leg blood clots may be common, but they can travel to the lungs and cause an embolism, potentially killing someone. To minimize their spread, doctors often prescribe blood-thinning medication or advise their patients to wear compression stockings. Other potential complications of leg clots may include nerve damage, injury to ligaments around the knee or infection which is sometimes treated with antibiotics while sometimes require additional surgery to rectify.

4. Recovery

Knee replacement surgery can have long-term benefits for those able to adhere to physical therapy and exercise programs after surgery, however most patients require oral painkillers for at least the first six weeks post-op.

During your surgical procedure, you may receive either general anesthesia or spinal or epidural anesthesia to numb your entire body from waist down. Once in this state, you’ll be placed into a bent position so the surgeon can access your surgical site more easily.

Surgery causes stress and trauma to the blood vessels and bone marrow space, increasing your risk of blood clots that could travel to your heart or lungs and create blockages. Clots like these occur frequently; in fact they affect 34% of all those undergoing knee replacement surgery.

Recovering from knee trauma requires both time and patience. Most individuals take several months before reaching full strength – sometimes not until their knee has completely recovered.

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