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Dec. 20, 2022

How to Prevent Complications After Joint Reconstruction Surgery

Joint replacement surgery is something that is done a lot. No surgery is risk-free, no matter how common or safe it is. If you do what your surgeon tells you to do before and after your surgery, you can lower the chance that something will go wrong.

Several things could go wrong after a hip or knee replacement. But the good news is that [most patients] go through their procedure without a significant medical or surgical complication

Problems with Joint Replacement Surgery

Even though they don't happen very often, the most common problems with joint replacement surgery are infection at the surgery site, blood clots, and nerve damage.

The following could be signs of an infection or other problems:

• More pain where the surgery was done

• The surgical site has swollen

• Drainage at the site of surgery

• High body temperature

• Shortness of breath

• Less ability to move around

If you are worried about how you feel after surgery, you should let your surgeon know.

Ahead of Surgery

Start taking steps weeks or months before your surgery to reduce the chance of something going wrong. Several things, like smoking cigarettes and being overweight, can increase the possibility of complications. Because of this, your doctor will tell you how to get in the best shape possible before surgery. This could lessen the chance of problems.

After the Operation

You should have a caretaker or family member with you on the day of surgery and especially in the first 24 hours after surgery. They can help you get to and from the hospital and help you deal with pain, care for wounds, and get better at home.

Once you get home from surgery, you must do what your surgeon says. These instructions lower the chance of getting an infection and make the surgery go better. After surgery, you and the person taking care of you should read all instructions carefully and ask any questions.

Don't be afraid to call your surgeon if you have any questions while you're getting better. It's better to "over-communicate" than make assumptions that may turn out wrong and cause problems during joint replacement surgery.

Getting the risks down

The best way to ensure the surgery goes well is to do what the surgeon says. The person should also make sure to ask any questions they have about how to take care of their new knee.

The following tips should help you avoid or lessen common problems with knee replacements:

Take it slow: After surgery, doctors often tell people to start using their new knee as soon as possible. However, it is vital to do just what is necessary. Some things a person does every day, like driving and climbing stairs, may only be possible for a maximum of 3 to 6 weeks.

Exercise: It is essential to get up and move around. A person can move their knee again by doing the doctor's activities. Blood clots are also less likely to happen if you stay active.

Apply ice: In the days following knee surgery, reducing swelling and pain can be aided by holding an ice pack wrapped in a soft cloth against the knee. Putting a few pillows under the knee can also help with swelling.

Pain relief:If there is pain after surgery, the surgeon will give you medicine. Taking care of the pain can help the person stay active, which will help them get better faster.

Compression devices: Most of the time, the doctor will tell you to wear compression stockings or a device that looks like a boot and constantly puts pressure on your leg. These devices keep blood from getting stuck in the legs and clotting.

Clean the wound: The surgeon will tell you how to clean the wound and take care of it. Keeping the area clean can help stop infections from happening.

Other options

Before getting a knee replacement, people with osteoarthritis may want to look into less invasive ways to relieve pain and stiffness.

Some of these treatments are a cane or walker, exercise and physical therapy, painkillers like Tylenol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn), and celecoxib (Celebrex), steroid injections into the knee, and, if necessary, losing weight. Keeping a healthy weight and working out regularly can help prevent osteoarthritis.

Things to think about

People should learn as much as possible before surgery to make sure that the surgery goes as well as possible and to lower the risk of complications.

Some questions to ask the doctor are: What do you think will happen? How will getting a new knee to help me?

• Can I get rid of my pain and stiffness without having surgery?

• What can I do before surgery to make it more likely to go well?

• What could go wrong with knee replacement surgery?

• What can I do to reduce the chance of something going wrong?

• How can I tell if there's a complication?

• How do I reach you if I need to get in touch?

If you notice a change you didn't expect during your recovery, call your surgeon before going to the emergency room. Just check in with the surgeon and ask if this is common for people who have had this procedure done.

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