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Total Knee Replacement Complications

Total Knee Replacement Complications June 24, 2024

Total Knee Replacement Complications

Total knee replacement (TKR), also known as knee arthroplasty, is a common surgical procedure that alleviates pain and restores function in severely diseased knee joints. Like any major surgery, Total knee replacement (TKR) has potential complications despite its high success rate. Understanding these complications can help patients make informed decisions and prepare adequately for the procedure and recovery process.

Early Postoperative Complications120

  1. Infection
    • Incidence: Occurs in about 1-2% of cases.
    • Symptoms: Redness, swelling, warmth around the knee, fever, and drainage from the surgical site.
    • Management: Treatment includes antibiotics, and additional surgery to remove the infected tissue may be required in severe cases.
  2. Blood Clots (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
    • Incidence: Relatively common if preventative measures are not taken.
    • Symptoms: Swelling, pain, and tenderness in the calf or thigh, as well as redness of the skin.
    • Management: Blood thinners, compression stockings, and physical activity to improve circulation.
  3. Bleeding and Hematoma
    • Incidence: Rare but can occur.
    • Symptoms: Swelling and bruising around the knee, and sometimes significant blood loss requiring transfusion.
    • Management: Monitoring and surgical intervention if necessary to stop bleeding.
  4. Nerve Injury
    • Incidence: Rare, occurring in less than 1% of cases.
    • Symptoms: Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg.
    • Management: Most nerve injuries are temporary and recover over time; physical therapy may aid in recovery.

Intermediate Complications

  1. Stiffness and Limited Range of Motion
    • Incidence: Up to 5-10% of patients experience significant stiffness.
    • Symptoms: Difficulty bending or straightening the knee fully.
    • Management: Physical therapy, manipulation under anesthesia, or, in severe cases, additional surgery.
  2. Instability
    • Incidence: Rare but can occur due to improper alignment or soft tissue imbalance.
    • Symptoms: The feeling that the knee is giving way or not stable.
    • Management: Physical therapy, knee braces, or revision surgery to correct alignment.
  3. Persistent Pain
    • Incidence: Approximately 10-20% of patients may experience ongoing pain.
    • Symptoms: Pain in and around the knee joint that does not improve with time.
    • Management: Pain management strategies, physical therapy, and addressing underlying issues.

Long-Term Complications

  1. Implant Loosening
    • Incidence: Occurs in about 1-2% of cases per year, increasing over time.
    • Symptoms: Pain, swelling, and instability in the knee.
    • Management: Revision surgery to replace or adjust the implant.
  2. Wear and Tear
    • Incidence: Common over the implant’s lifespan, typically after 15-20 years.
    • Symptoms: Pain, decreased function, and swelling.
    • Management: Revision surgery to replace worn components.
  3. Fractures Around the Implant
    • Incidence: Rare but can occur due to trauma or bone weakening.
    • Symptoms: Severe pain, swelling, and inability to bear weight on the leg.
    • Management: Surgery will be performed to fix the fracture, possibly including knee replacement revision.
  4. Allergic Reactions to Implant Materials
    • Incidence: Very rare, but some patients may react to metals used in the implants.
    • Symptoms: Persistent pain and swelling, skin rash, or systemic reactions.
    • Management: Testing for allergies and possibly using alternative implant materials.

Reducing the Risk of Complications

While it is impossible to eliminate all risks, several strategies can help reduce the likelihood of complications:

  • Preoperative Preparation: Optimizing overall health, managing chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity, and quitting smoking.
  • Surgical Expertise: Choosing an experienced orthopedic surgeon with a high success rate in TKR procedures.
  • Postoperative Care: Adhering to rehabilitation protocols, taking prescribed medications, and attending follow-up appointments.


Total knee replacement is a life-changing procedure for many, offering significant pain relief and improved mobility. However, understanding the potential complications is crucial for setting realistic expectations and proactively managing health before and after surgery. With careful planning and adherence to medical advice, most patients can enjoy the benefits of TKR with minimal complications.

Dr. Mrinal Sharma – Leading Knee Replacement Surgeon

Dr. Mrinal Sharma is widely regarded as one of India’s foremost total knee replacement surgeons, renowned for his exceptional surgical skills and compassionate patient care. With over 20 years of experience in orthopedic surgery, Dr. Mrinal Sharma has performed thousands of successful knee replacement surgeries, earning the trust and admiration of patients and peers alike. His extensive training, including advanced fellowships in knee arthroplasty from leading international medical institutions, has equipped him with cutting-edge techniques and a deep understanding of knee joint mechanics.

Dr. Mrinal Sharma’s meticulous approach to preoperative planning, precision in surgical execution, and dedication to postoperative rehabilitation ensures optimal patient outcomes, significantly enhancing their quality of life.

Dr. Mrinal Sharma’s commitment to excellence extends beyond the operating room. He actively contributes to medical research, regularly publishing in reputed orthopedic journals and presenting at international conferences. His dedication to continuous learning and staying abreast of the latest advancements in knee replacement surgery reflects his passion for providing the best possible care.

Patients consistently praise Dr. Mrinal Sharma for his empathetic approach, clear communication, and personalized treatment plans tailored to meet each individual’s unique needs. His holistic approach to patient care and technical expertise solidify Dr. Mrinal Sharma’s reputation as India’s best total knee replacement surgeon.

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