Joint surgery is performed to abolish a damaged joint and the affected joint is replaced by new one. In the body where two or more bones join together is called a joint. Including shoulders, hips and knees. The doctor that performs joint surgery is called an orthopedic surgeon. Usually in joint surgery a whole damaged joint is removed and replaced with a new one. Some cases a surgeon doesn’t remove the whole joint, he just replaces the most damaged parts of joint. Joint surgery can improve the life of a patient by relieving pain and improving mobility. Most often knees and hips are replaced through surgery.
As we all know all surgeries have some risks associated with them. These complications depend on some factors like general health and the age of a patient. Younger patients, with no other medical issues have a lower risk of complications.
Most common dangers of joint surgery
Complications associated with anesthesia
During surgery, the surgeon may use anesthesia to numb your leg or to make you sleep so that you cannot feel the pain. Generally, modern anesthesia is safe, but in some cases it may cause negative reactions or side effects. Side effects include vomiting, sore throat, discomfort, dizziness, pain, drowsiness, shivering. Adverse reactions are stomach problems, dental trauma, wheezing, swelling in the windpipe, allergies to latex, injuries to vocal cords, veins, arteries or nerves.
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Other complications of joint surgery include:
There is a small risk of wound infection. Usually, this kind of infection can be treated, but in 1% of cases. A deep infection may develop which may need the removal of newly placed joint, until the infection disappears. In extreme cases the replaced joint may need to be removed permanently, if the infection doesn’t get cured.
Joint stiffness and loss of motion
Scar tissue may affect the motion in the joint and stiffness is normal after surgery. These can be improved by physical therapy or exercise.
A minor fall after surgery can break the bone around the replaced joint in patients with weak bones.
Most patients experience a gradual reduction in pain after few months of surgery. Some patients can have an ongoing or new type of pain for longer. A repeat operation can fix it sometimes.
Dislocation can happen because of the use of a mobile plastic bearing. There is a very low risk of dislocation of the joint. But if this occurs then this wound may need further surgery.
In case that a blood clot formed after surgery, it can travel to lungs and may cause chest pains and loss of oxygen. This happens in rare cases, but can be fatal.
Blood clots occur in deep veins of the treated area and can cause pain or swelling. The surgeon needs to balance these things. Any kind of injury during surgery may increase the risk of a blood clot. Typically a blood clot can occur within 2 weeks or few hours after surgery. Clots in legs are less risky but displaced clots that travel to lungs or heart may cause dangerous issues. For more information on Complications and dangers of joint surgery check out this article from Standford Health.