What leads to knee replacement surgery failure?
Even the thought of going through surgery is overwhelming. Imagine experiencing the complications from the said surgery. Though there has been revolutionary growth in healthcare, this field is not exempt from failures. A common example of such blunders is the prevalence of knee replacement surgery failure.
Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroscopy, is a conventional and effective surgical treatment for conditions like knee arthritis. The average span of the impact of this treatment is about 15-20 years. However, some risk factors of knee replacement surgery can lead to its failure.
In this article, Dr Debashish, one of the best knee replacement surgeon in Gurgaon, provides his insights on why a knee arthroscopy fails?
Why do knee replacements fail?
During knee arthroscopy, surgeons cut open the affected knee for repair. They remove the damaged surfaces from the joint and cap the joint surface with metal and plastic implants.
There are numerous factors why do knee replacements fail. In some cases, more than one factor is responsible for the impairment. Here is a list of the top causes behind knee replacement surgery failure:
- Wear and tear – The implants that are placed on joint surfaces are made of metal and plastic. With aggravated movement and recklessness, these implants can bear damage. As a patient moves, the prosthesis (implants) in the knee rub together and generate friction. This friction can further lead to mechanical overload. This wear and tear caused inside the knee can pose several issues and raise symptoms of knee replacement failure.
- Infection – One of the top risk factors of knee replacement surgery is infection. Studies have found that infection has become the chief cause of surgical failure in patients under the age of 55. Since the prosthesis installed inside the knee are built of metal and plastic, it is easier for bacteria to accumulate on them. This latching of bacteria can lead to a severe form of infection.
- Fracture – Patients who have had knee replacement surgery require additional care. If they perform extraneous physical activity that involves excess burden on the knee, they can suffer from a fracture. Fractures around implants are considered major knee replacement complications.
- Instability – Sometimes, the soft tissues surrounding the knee can experience extreme weakness. If the implants are weighed down with immoderate activity, it can lead to instability. Additionally, the load of implants can affect natural joint stability. Knee surgery post-operative care is just as important as the surgery itself. Patients who have undergone this treatment are expected to exercise caution while making movement, especially of the knee.
- Stiffness – Over the top physical activity brings out different forms of injuries. Similarly, a lack of moderate movement can lead to stiffness. This form of rigidity around the knee implants can also cause symptoms of knee replacement failure. It is because the patient significantly losses their range of motion that can hinder the functioning of the knee.
How to minimise the chances of knee replacement surgery failure?
There is a variety of reasons why a knee arthroscopy damages. Some of these causes are beyond the patient’s control. However, most of these risk factors of knee replacement surgery failure can be avoided by practicing vigilance.
Here are a few ways knee replacement surgery recovery tips that can be maintained to avoid failure:
- Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight increases the chances of the burden on knee implants. It also simultaneously elevates the possibility of stiffness that can directly impact the knee prosthesis.
- Leading a healthy lifestyle – More than one major health conditions can increase the odds of knee surgery failure. It is important to live a life of wellness, especially after surgery. Comorbid conditions notably add to the risk factors.
What are the symptoms of knee replacement failure?
In most cases, knee replacement surgery failure occurs after 5-8 years of the procedure. After this gap, it is not very likely for patients to ignore the signs at the surgical area. The symptoms of knee replacement failure include:
- Increased pain in the knee
- Decreased function and range of movement
- Instability while moving and walking
- Swelling around the knee area
- Stiffness in the knee
Read: The risk of delaying Knee Replacement Surgery
How to treat knee replacement surgery complications?
Knee replacement surgery failure can be further treated successfully. Needless to say, the patient is required to take exceptional care if a revision treatment is recommended.
If and when a knee replacement surgery failure happens, revision surgery is done. It is similar to the original knee arthroscopy but aims at eliminating the factor that has lead to the failure.
In a revision surgical procedure, surgeons remove the pre-installed implants and replace them.
A revision knee replacement surgery failure is typically divided into three phases:
- Pre-surgery process: The patient would be required to take multiple tests. These include X-rays, blood tests, knee aspiration, CT Scans, MRI and more. Based on the reports of these screening, the surgeon would recommend how and when the revision can be performed.
- During surgery: The surgeon would make incisions in the knee area. Through the opening, he/she would remove the affected and damaged implants. Depending upon the strength of the bone, the surgeon may also use additional medical tools like metal wedges, wires or screws. After the repair is done, the surgeon would sew the incision back.
- Post surgery: The patient would be expected to follow precise recovery guidelines. Proper monitoring of your health would also be done by the nursing team.
What are the knee replacement surgery recovery tips?
The recovery process of revised knee arthroscopy is similar to knee replacement surgery. Primarily, the patient would be kept under observation to keep a check on further improvements or complications.
Recovery tips for a corrective knee arthroscopy consist of:
- Medication – If the patient is experiencing unbearable pain, the healthcare provider would prescribe pain relief medications in such a case.
- Physical therapy – After some time, the nursing team would take the patient for regular physical therapy. Physical therapy is crucial to recovery from knee surgery.
- Blood management – The surgeon would also administer blood-thinning drugs to prevent blood clotting.
Note: The length of the recovery period varies among patients.
Read: Quality of life after Total Knee Replacement Surgery
The Concluding Note
Knee replacement surgery failure is an ordinary medical complication. In the recent past, there has also been a rise in the number of revision surgeries.
For information or personalised guidance on knee arthroscopy, you can book an appointment with Dr Debashish, best knee replacement surgeon in Gurgaon.
Read: Partial vs total knee replacement surgery: Which fits better?