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Exploring the Potential Risks of Knee Replacement Surgery

When it comes to knee replacement, patients want to make sure that they fully understand what happens and what could occur after the procedure. While most people recover without issue, you still want to know what the risks are and what might need to be done should they occur. This allows you to best prepare and recover as comfortably as possible.


No matter which surgery you have there is a risk of infection. This is because the skin is broken and this allows for the entry of potentially dangerous organisms. If you experience an infection, you might have the following symptoms:

    • You have a fever that exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit
    • At the surgical site, you notice abnormal drainage
    • You experience shaking chills
    • At your knee, you have increasing tenderness, pain, redness, and swelling

If your new knee joint becomes infected, there is a chance that you might have to have more surgery. Your doctor will also need to put you on a course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria that is responsible for the infection.

Heart Attack

Heart attack is another potential risk that can occur with any surgery. When this happens, it can be life-threatening, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or you are older. A heart attack requires immediate treatment and the goal is to minimize the death of heart muscle tissue.

Nerve Damage

Whenever a joint is operated on, there is a risk of nerve damage in the area. Some will get better with time and some will be irreversible. Nerve damage can cause various symptoms, such as numbness and tingling at the damage area. If you experience this issue following knee replacement surgery, your doctor will discuss any possible treatment methods with you.


Stroke is a possible complication with almost all surgeries. This can be either hemorrhagic or ischemic. If you experience a stroke during or after surgery, this will become the priority and needs to be treated immediately. Your doctor will discuss your stroke risk with you and talk to you about what you might be able to do to minimize your risk.

Blood Clots

Blood clots that originate in the legs are possible after you have knee replacement surgery. If the clot breaks free and travels elsewhere in the body, such as the lungs, this can be life-threatening.

You can see that when it comes to knee replacement, patients need to know about the possible risks that they might face after their surgery. When you have this information, it ensures that you are able to take preventative measures that will increase the chances of you recovering without any issues.

If you would like to request a consultation with one of the knee replacement specialists at OSI, please call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online.

The Orthopedic & Sports Institute has convenient locations to serve you. In addition to the flagship facility in Appleton, you will find outreach clinics in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location serving the Green Bay area, inside the NOVO Health Clinic in De Pere.