What are the risks of joint replacement surgery?

What are the risks of joint replacement surgery

Are you thinking about getting joint replacement surgery? If yes, then you’ve probably scoured the internet in an effort to weigh the pros and cons. Joint replacement surgery, like any other surgery, comes with risks and complications.

While it is successful 90 percent of the time, and patients see dramatic improvement in pain and other symptoms, there are some risks you should be aware of.

It’s extremely rare for joint replacement surgery complications to lead to death. A highly-skilled and experienced surgical team will take preventive measures to avoid complications, and if complications do present themselves, your team will be able to respond to them right away. A great way to minimize your risks is to have open and candid conversations with your surgeon on your health, medical history, medications, and symptoms.

Find out the risks of joint replacement surgery below and discuss your concerns with your orthopedic surgeon.

Anesthesia Complications

During surgery, the surgeon will use either general or local anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable during your procedure. While anesthesia is largely safe, it can have cause complications if administered incorrectly. This is why it’s important to have an experienced anesthesiologist monitor your vital signs during surgery.

After your surgery, you may feel some common side effects including nausea, vomiting, shivering, a sore throat, and aches and pains. Your surgeon and nurses will take care of you and help you manage these symptoms, if necessary.

Blood Clots

Blood clots in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) or blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) may occur during surgery. This is a risk with every type of surgery. The percentage of patients that get blood clots during joint replacement surgery is very low, and fatal cases are extremely rare.

There are preventive measures your doctor may take to reduce your risk of blood clots. You may be asked to take medication to prevent blood clotting (blood thinners). Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy exercises, elevating your legs, and wearing support stockings. Moreover, unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking should be avoided weeks before your joint replacement surgery. All of these steps reduce your risk of developing blood clots.


There is a very small chance that you will develop an infection from your surgery. Patients with a compromised immune system are more prone to developing an infection, unlike patients who are relatively healthy. This is why it’s crucial to have an experienced and reputable surgeon to perform your surgery.

Experienced surgical teams are very strict with anti-infection measures such as dressing in highly-sterile protective wear and using sterilized surgical tools when performing surgeries. Your surgeon may also prescribe you with antibiotics before and after surgery to prevent infection.

Metal Allergy

Some patients are allergic to metal components of the replacement joint (such as titanium or cobalt-chromium-based alloy).

If you have a metal allergy, let your orthopedic surgeon know during the surgery planning phase. This will ensure changes are made that will keep you safe from a potential allergic reaction.

Joint Replacement Surgery in Clinton Township, Michigan

The risks involved in joint replacement surgery are clearly preventable. Put your trust in Movement Orthopedics’ board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Carroll. We are one of the very few orthopedic practices who can perform joint replacement on an outpatient basis. This allows you to recover in the comfort of your own home.

If you have any questions about joint replacement surgery or want to find out if it is the right procedure for you, please call (586) 436-3785 or request an appointment now.

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