Complications of Total Knee Replacements
- This is the main worry and can be deadly. If infection gets in the joint at the very least the joint will have to be removed and replaced; at worst, the leg could need to be amputated to save the patient's life.
Symptoms of Infection
- Watch for fever, heat in the joint, foul smell around incision, thick discolored pus coming from incision site or redness around incision that radiates outwards. These are all emergency situations and a hospital should be immediately sought.
- In rare cases, something with the implant fails and the joint will slip or stop functioning. This can happen if the cement does not hold, or if a fault in the prosthetic causes it to break. Signs are pain, a feeling of instability, bruising, and inability to use the joint. Seek medical help immediately.
- In some cases, major nerves have to be cut during knee replacement surgery. This can cause numbness and loss of feeling that can be temporary or permanent on parts of the lower leg. See your doctor if you should experience persistent numbness.
- No matter how careful a surgeon is, damage may occur to surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues that is not intentional. These may cause permanent problems, and may require further surgery to fix.