All surgeries have risks for complications. Knowing what these risks are and how they apply to you is part of deciding whether or not to have surgery.
You can help lower your chances of risks from surgery by planning ahead.
It is normal to lose blood during and after hip or knee replacement surgery. Some people need a blood transfusion during surgery or during their recovery period in the hospital. You are less likely to need a transfusion if your red blood count is high enough before surgery.
Much of the bleeding during surgery comes from the bone that has been cut. A bruise may occur if blood collects around the new joint or under the skin after surgery.
Your chances of having a blood clot form are higher during and soon after hip or knee replacement surgery. Sitting or lying down for long periods of time during and after surgery will make your blood move more slowly through your body. This increases your risk of a blood clot.
Two types of blood clots are:
To lower your risk of blood clots:
Some problems that may occur after hip or knee replacement surgery include:
Other problems from hip or knee replacement surgery can occur. Although they are rare, such problems include:
Lachiewicz PF. Comparison of ACCP and AAOS guidelines for VTE prophylaxis after total hip and total knee arthroplasty. Orthopedics. 2009;32:74-78.
Mihalko WM. Arthroplasty of the knee. In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 7.
Harkess JW, Crockarell JR. Arthroplasty of the hip In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 3.
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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