All surgeries have a risk of complications. Understanding these risks and how they apply to you should be part of deciding whether or not to have surgery.
Proper care and planning before surgery may prevent these risks or make them less likely to occur.
Choose a doctor and hospital that provide high-quality care. Then talk with your doctor long before your surgery about what you can do to prevent problems during and after surgery.
It is normal to lose blood during hip- or knee-replacement surgery. Some people need a blood transfusion during surgery or their recovery in the hospital. You are less likely to need a transfusion if you are not anemic (have a low blood count) before surgery.
Much of the bleeding during surgery comes from the bone that has been cut. A hematoma (bruise) may occur if blood collects around the new knee joint or under the skin after surgery.
You are more likely to form a blood clot 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, you:
Some problems that may occur after your hip- or knee-replacement surgery include:
Other problems from hip- or knee replacement surgery can also occur, but these are rare, including:
Lachiewicz PF. Comparison of ACCP and AAOS guidelines for VTE prophylaxis after total hip and total knee arthroplasty. Orthopedics. 2009;32:74-78.
Harkess JW. Arthroplasty of the hip. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 7.
Updated by: A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine (8/12/2011).
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