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risks of joint replacement surgery


Diseases of the joints had been around over all generations and people had to succumb to its debilitating fate if the damages were too severe. Synergistic advances of the human mind and technology had made it possible for diseased joints to be given a second chance through joint replacement surgery. The study of the surgery had been started in the late 1800s through the 1900s with varying degrees of success and over time it had been an indispensable treatment for advanced joint diseases.

Joint replacement surgery is a procedure whereby one or both the components forming a joint are replaced with artificial components. These components are better known as prosthesis and they are made up of metal alloy or special high density polyethylene. There are two main types of joint replacement surgeries; partial joint replacement and total joint replacement. Partial joint replacement involves replacing only one side of a joint whereas total joint replacement involves replacing both components of a joint. With all these advances however, no artificial joint is as good nor can they come close to the perfection of God-given joints and thus we will explore here the joint replacement surgery risks.

Joint replacement surgery is typically reserved and only indicated for patients with severe osteoarthritis , rheumatoid arthritis, or severe joint damage due to trauma or other pathologies. These conditions must have caused significant pain and limitation in daily activities. Joints that are frequently replaced are the knee and hip joints. These surgeries have their own set of complications :

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

This is a condition whereby a blood clot forms in the deep vein of the leg. This may happen due to manipulation of the limbs during surgery, immobilization and some inherent factors of the patient. Blood-thinners and simple exercises can prevent this from happening.

Nerve Palsies

Nerves may become compressed or damaged from the operation or by the placement of components. Spontaneous recovery occurs in most cases.

Vascular injury

This is uncommon but can occur mainly due to technical reasons.


This may happen during the process of implanting the prosthesis, or sometimes, even later due to unequal distribution of stress concentration on the bones.


The rate of dislocation is generally low and it is primarily due to faulty positioning of the limbs during early post-operative period, malpositioning of the components and loosening of the components.


This is the most serious and dreaded complication. Prevention with antibiotics is the best way to avoid the joints from getting infected.

New Bone Formation

In some cases, new bones may form around the components and may lead to decreased range of movement in that joint.

To avoid these complications and ensure smooth recovery, there are some measures that will be taken prior and after the surgery that your surgeon will advise you to do. Your surgeon may advise you to practice some forms of suitable exercises to increase your fitness for surgery and to encourage faster healing after surgery. Some medications may be changed before undergoing surgery. Also, rehabilitation programs can help you get back to your daily living, improve your social life and occupational performance for monthly earnings. And a proper discharge planning will keep your recovery strictly in check, as to when to come for follow up, suture removals, and compliance to rehabilitation programs.