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    Knee Replacement Surgery for Arthritis

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    Is Knee Replacement Surgery Safe?

    Knee joint replacements have been performed for years and surgical techniques are being improved all the time. As with all surgeries, however, there are risks. Since you will not be able to move around much at first, blood clots are a particular concern. Your doctor will give you blood thinners to help prevent this.

    Infection and bleeding also are possible, as are the risks associated with using general anesthesia. Other less common concerns that you and your doctor must watch out for include the following:

    • Pieces of fat in the bone marrow may become loose, enter the bloodstream and get into the lungs, which can cause very serious breathing problems.
    • Nerves in the knee area may be injured from swelling or pressure and can cause some numbness.
    • Other bones may be broken during the surgery, which may require a longer hospital stay.
    • The replacement parts may become loose or break.

    How Long Will My New Knee Joint Last?

    When joint replacement procedures were first performed in the early 1970s, it was thought that the average artificial joint would last approximately 10 years. We now know that about 85% of the joint implants will last 20 years or more. Improvements in surgical technique and artificial joint materials should make these artificial joints last even longer.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on May 10, 2016
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