Complications of Knee Replacement

Complications of Knee Replacement


Complications and adverse events are associated with all medical and surgical treatments. Being older, in poor health and having a personal history of comorbid medical diseases increase the risks in patients who undergo knee replacement surgery.
Serious knee replacement complications are rare, less than 2% of patients will experience them. The risk of death from total knee replacement surgery is very low. The leading cause of death within 90 days of knee replacement surgery is ischemic heart disease.

Most implants should last 15 years or longer, but some may fail sooner or at higher than expected rates.
Loosening is one of the most common complications and patients usually need revision surgery to fix it.

The major perioperative complications associated with total knee replacement (TKA) are:

  • Anesthesia-related

    • Sore throat
    • Headache
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Drowsiness
    • Heart attack or stroke
    • Trouble urinating
    • Allergic reactions
    • Breathing problems
    • Pneumonia
    • Nerve injury from a needle
    • Side effects of medication
  • Surgical complications

    • Bleeding and Blood loss
    • Thromboembolism
    • Peroneal nerve palsy
    • Tourniquet-related ischemic injury
    • Arterial injury
    • Wound healing problems
    • Surgical site infection
    • Periprosthetic deep infection (PJI)
    • Intraoperative fracture
    • Ligament injury
    • Instability
    • Patellofemoral disorders
    • Longer-term stiffness
    • Persistent or severe knee pain
    • Implant failure
    • Wearing out of implants
    • Clicking, clunking, and popping sounds
    • Misalignment of components
    • Dislocation
    • Implant rejection
  • Comorbid medical conditions

    • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Lung conditions
    • Kidney disfunction
    • Hepatic disfunction
    • Gastro intestinal disfunction
    • Depression and anxiety


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