a clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) : in order to prevent
this happening, the knee and leg must be moobilised very early and
supports stockings used. anticoagulants
infection : main complication. the patient will develop fever,
swelling with inflammation and redness of the wound in the early
stage but it can be more "quiet" with stiffness and pain.
Diagnose must be rapidly confirmed by investigations and the knee
will require first removal of the prosthesis, then a period of rest
with antibiotherapy. A new prosthesis will be reinserted, about
two months later.
No surgery procedure is free from complications, even if it is
a fairly routine and safe operation: in order to make an informed
decision and give your consent, you need to be aware of the possible
side-effects and the risk of complications.
- General anaesthetic risks are always present as anybody undergoes
general or regional anaesthesia.
- Surgical risks:
- Infection : The wound or the joint can get infected. Antibiotics
are given during surgery to help prevent this.
- Damage to vessels or nerves.
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- are very rare occurrences.
- A blood clot can develop in the veins of the leg (deep vein
thrombosis, DVP). This clot can break off and cause a blockage
in the lungs. It is usually treatable, but it can be a life-threatening
condition. (blood clots in a vein of the leg)
- Numbness around the incision: there is usually a patch of
numbness or sensory disturbance in front of the knee joint,
secondary to bruising or damage to the skin nerves that supply
the area. This may be permanent.
- ACL reconstruction specific complications
- Rupture of the graft: the graft can fail early by rupture
of its fixation or lately due to a further injury and ongoing
instability and pain after ligament surgery.
- Knee replacement :
- A knee replacement is a commonly performed and generally
safe surgical procedure. For most people, the benefits are
far greater than the disadvantages.
Side effects : after surgery your knee will be sore when
you move it and swollen for up to three months. You will
have a scar in front of the knee. The scar and the outer
side of the knee may be numb, which can sometimes be permanent.
Some complications specific to a knee replacement :
- Sometimes it is not possible to make the new knee fully
stable and you may need to have another operation.
- A build-up scar tissue occasionnally restricts movement.
Another operation may be performed to break down the scar
tissue. In rare cases, the loss of movement may be permanent.
- The knee cap can become dislocated after surgery.
I once again insist on how important it is, to keep me informed
as you go along of any problem you meet +++.
Docteur Jean Etienne Perraudin;
Last updated 9 march 2008.