Understanding The Risks You Face After Joint Replacement Surgery

Health & Medical Blog

The human body is designed to work like a well-oiled machine, but as you age, specific points of your body can start to see signs of wear and tear, specifically your joints. Whether it is your shoulder, knee, or elbow, artificial joint replacement could help to alleviate some of the pain and hassle associated with joints that have seen their better days. While the majority of these orthopedic surgeries occur without incident and improve function, there are always risks involved. As the patient of an orthopedic surgeon who is anticipating joint replacement surgery, it is crucial that you understand these risks.

Risk of Stiffness in the New Joint - Immediately following a joint replacement surgery, it is only normal that the swelling and trauma to surrounding tissue will cause some stiffness and loss of range of motion. However, the surgeon will instruct you to go through physical therapy to help the new joint function without this stiffness. If the problem with joint stiffness continues, you should speak to the doctor about what could be causing the problem.

Risk of Infection - As long as you follow your doctor's orders about aftercare and keep your follow-up appointments, infection should not be a major concern. However, there is a slight risk of infection with any surgical procedure or wound, but also a risk of infection of the joint itself, which only happens about two percent of the time. If you notice sudden swelling and redness, fever in the area, or excessive discharge around the wound, you should contact a doctor right away.

Risk of a Failed Implant - It is a common misconception that implant failure is something that would happen right after surgery, but this is not the case. Implant failure is something that typically happens over time, especially if you are younger when the implant is placed in your body. Every different joint replacement comes along with an expected lifespan. For example, a knee replacement may last about as long as 20 years. Therefore, if you have a joint implant beyond its expected lifespan, the joint may fail and you may need another replacement.

When you are in the process of getting a joint replacement surgery, talk openly with the orthopedic surgeon assigned to your care about any risks that may be associated with the procedure. The more you know about the procedure in advance, the more prepared you will be if an issue does come up.

To learn more, contact a clinic like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates


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