What Are The Risks Of Knee Surgery?

While joint replacement can be successful in addressing pain and function, there are no guarantees as to how long the implants will last as variables such as weight and activity level can lead to wear that may require additional surgery to replace the components. Serious complications, such as infection, can occur. Major medical complications, such as heart attack or stroke, are rare, but possible. Each of the following reactions or complications can occur during and/or after surgery and may require medical attention (such as further surgery and/or implant removal):

  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding
  • Slow wound healing
  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction to the knee implant components
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Nerve damage

  • Stiffness
  • Poor range of motion
  • Swelling and joint pain
  • Knee instability and/or dislocation
  • Loosening or fracture of the knee implant components
  • Bone fracture or break during surgery
  • Leg length discrepancy

1. Total Knee Replacement [Internet]. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; 2009 April [cited 2011 Nov 20]. Available from: orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00389

Important Note: This information is intended to provide an overview of knee replacement surgery and should be reviewed with your doctor. It does not include all of the information needed to determine eligibility for knee replacement or for the proper use and care of artificial knee replacements. Please consult your surgeon for more information. Information may also be obtained by calling the toll-free number or visiting the web site. The toll-free number also can be used to obtain complete product contraindications, warnings, precautions, and possible adverse effects. Individual results may vary. Your results will depend on your personal circumstances. How long a knee replacement will last varies from patient to patient. It depends on many factors, such as the patient's physical condition, activity level, and body weight and the surgical technique. Replacement joints are not as strong or durable as natural, healthy joints, and there is no guarantee that a prosthetic joint will last the rest of a patient's life. All knee replacements may need to be replaced at some point.
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