What if the surgery meant to make your life easier and take away your pain failed?
Imagine the frustration and disappointment you would experience if your knee replacement surgery, intended to alleviate pain and improve mobility, did not go as planned...
Unfortunately, knee replacement failure is a reality for some patients that can make everyday life a living hell…
The failure can also result in the need for revision surgery, which is often more complicated and has a longer recovery time than the initial procedure. This can be extremely tough to take, both physically and emotionally.
Here's what you need to know about the reasons why a knee replacement might fail, and what to look out for...
What Causes A Knee Replacement Implant To Fail?
Knee replacement implants are a common solution for those with knee joint pain, but what happens when the implant fails?
Though knee replacements are meant to be a permanent solution, there are a number of factors that can cause an implant to fail. Here are some of the most common causes…
Infection is a serious concern for individuals who have undergone knee replacement surgery and can lead to a total failure of the implant.
Infections can occur both during surgery and immediately post-surgery and cause pain, swelling, and redness in the affected area.
If left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding tissues and even to the implant itself, causing it to loosen and become unstable.
Infections can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor hygiene, exposure to contaminated surfaces, and weakened immune systems.
To reduce the risk of infection after knee replacement surgery, it's important to follow proper wound care instructions and to keep the surgical site clean and dry.
In some cases, the implant may need to be removed and replaced with a new one to treat the infection and restore proper function to the knee joint.
Improper surgical technique is a significant factor that can lead to the failure of a knee replacement.
Correct placement of the implant is crucial, as improper placement can cause pain, instability, and decreased range of motion in the affected leg.
In addition, improper surgical techniques can increase the risk of complications, such as infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. These complications can further weaken the knee joint and increase the risk of a total implant failure.
To reduce the risk of improper surgical technique during knee replacement surgery, it's important to choose a qualified and experienced orthopedic surgeon who has a proven track record of success with this procedure.
You should also ask your doctor about their experience with the specific type of implant you will be receiving and discuss any concerns or questions you may have.
The knee joint is supported by a complex network of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that work together to provide stability and support.
If these tissues are weakened or damaged, it can cause instability in the knee joint, leading to pain, decreased range of motion, and difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg.
In some cases, instability in the surrounding tissues can be caused by pre-existing conditions, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, which can weaken the knee joint and increase the risk of implant failure.
In other cases, instability can be caused by improper surgical technique or a lack of proper rehabilitation after the surgery.
To reduce the risk of instability in the surrounding tissues after knee replacement surgery, it's important to follow your doctor's instructions for post-operative care and rehabilitation. This may include physical therapy, exercises to strengthen the muscles and ligaments, and assistive devices, such as crutches or a knee brace.
What Are The Signs Of Knee Replacement Failure?
Now that we know why knee replacements fail, how do you know if your implant is failing? Here are some of the most common signs to watch out for…
Of course, it’s normal to feel some sort of pain after a knee replacement… after all, it is a major surgery…
But if the pain persists or increases over time, that could be an indication that something is wrong with the implant.
If the knee joint is painful or uncomfortable, the implant may have shifted or come loose, and in severe cases, the implant may have worn down or broken completely.
Nerve damage in the knee joint after a knee replacement surgery can be a sign of improper surgical technique or a complication, such as infection or bleeding.
During the procedure, the surgeon must carefully position and secure the implant in the knee joint to avoid damaging the nerves and blood vessels in the area.
If the implant is not positioned correctly or if there is excessive bleeding during the surgery, it can increase the risk of nerve damage and other complications.
If you're experiencing numbness, tingling, or weakness after a knee replacement surgery, it could be a sign of nerve damage.
As we mentioned earlier, infections in the knee joint after a knee replacement surgery can be a sign of a failed surgery
The implant provides a foreign body in the knee joint, which can increase the risk of infection.
If you're experiencing redness, warmth, swelling, or pain in your knee after a knee replacement surgery, it's important to seek medical attention immediately to determine if an infection is present and receive appropriate treatment.
Early identification and treatment of infections can help prevent further damage to the knee joint and improve the outcome of the surgery.
Again, it’s common to experience some stiffness after having knee replacement surgery, but if the stiffness persists or increases, that could indicate an issue with the implant.
An implant should be positioned correctly and the surrounding tissues should be able to move freely to allow for a normal range of motion in the knee joint, so if the implant is not working correctly, it can limit your range of motion.
Having Difficulty Bearing Weight
The implant should provide stability and support to the knee joint, allowing for normal weight-bearing activities.
If the implant is not positioned correctly or if the surrounding tissues are damaged, it can cause pain and instability in the knee joint, making it difficult to bear weight.
If you're experiencing difficulty putting weight on your knee after a knee replacement surgery, then that may mean that your knee replacement surgery has failed.
Your implant should provide stability to the knee joint and allow for a normal range of motion. If the implant is not positioned correctly, it can cause instability in the knee joint, making it difficult to perform normal activities.
An unstable joint will never be one you can trust, which can be a tough mental burden to deal with.
Blood clots in the leg after a knee replacement surgery can indicate a complication with the procedure.
Clots can form when blood flow is disrupted, which can happen if the implant or surgical wound interferes with circulation.
Clots can also be a result of not moving enough during recovery.
If you experience swelling, pain, or warmth in your leg after a knee replacement surgery, it's crucial to seek medical attention as these could be signs of a blood clot.
Early detection and treatment can prevent serious consequences such as deep vein thrombosis.
Swelling in the knee joint after a knee replacement surgery can be caused by an array of issues, such as infection, blood clots, or implant failure.
Although some swelling is normal post-surgery, If you notice severe swelling, or swelling that is getting worse following your knee replacement surgery, it will be wise to have a professional check up on it.
Decreased range of motion
Misalignments or miscalculations during the knee replacement procedure can cause an implant not to fit properly between your bones and joints, limiting your range of motion.
No matter the cause, knee replacement failures can have serious implications on your quality of life and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Taking prompt action can help improve the outcome of your surgery and reduce the risk of serious complications.
What Are The Risks Of A Knee Replacement?
Knee replacement surgery is a common procedure for those with knee pain and limited mobility. However, like any surgery, it comes with certain risks, like the ones we’ve discussed today.
It's important to have an open and honest conversation with your doctor about these risks before undergoing the surgery to make sure that you can make an informed decision.
Additionally, factors such as age, overall health, and lifestyle can impact the success of the surgery and recovery process, so it’s essential to have realistic expectations and understand that full recovery may take several months.
To minimize the risk of complications, it's essential to follow your doctor's instructions for post-operative care.
Can A Knee Replacement Failure Be Treated?
The good news is that a failed knee replacement can often be treated!
Depending on the cause of the failure, options may include revision surgery, antibiotics for infection, or physical therapy to improve joint stability. In some cases, a minimally invasive procedure may be recommended to correct the issue.
It's important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent pain, swelling, or instability in your knee after a knee replacement.
Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent further complications and ensure proper healing. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of action based on your individual situation.
With the advancements in medical technology, the success rate of revision surgeries is high, and many patients are able to regain their mobility and quality of life!
There are also home remedies that can provide some help when it comes to treating your failed knee replacement…
Our Move+ utilizes cutting-edge medical technology called Red Light Therapy to improve the function of your knee after it has been replaced.
It's an innovative and non-invasive treatment that reduces inflammation, speeds up wound healing, and encourages your body's natural healing process to get you back on your feet in no time!
The best part is, it can be used alongside your rehabilitation program to help you gain strength and flexibility back in your knee joint!
Find out more about our Move+ and how it can help you get back to movement faster by clicking the link below:
The next-generation red light therapy device that uses both LED lights and medical-grade laser technology, to support your recovery.
With its advanced technology, MOVE+ offers targeted relief to your joints, helping to reduce inflammation and ease pain.
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USA/Canada: 3-4 days
UK: 6-10 days
Rest of world: 15-18 days