English version of the website of Dr. J.E.Perraudin, french orthopaedic surgeon in paris : : the content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

Last updated Feb 12, 2017

Complications of Knee surgery

Stiffness :

a clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) : in order to prevent this happening, the knee and leg must be moobilised very early and supports stockings used. anticoagulants

infection : main complication. the patient will develop fever, swelling with inflammation and redness of the wound in the early stage but it can be more "quiet" with stiffness and pain. Diagnose must be rapidly confirmed by investigations and the knee will require first removal of the prosthesis, then a period of rest with antibiotherapy. A new prosthesis will be reinserted, about two months later.

No surgery procedure is free from complications, even if it is a fairly routine and safe operation: in order to make an informed decision and give your consent, you need to be aware of the possible side-effects and the risk of complications.

  • General anaesthetic risks are always present as anybody undergoes general or regional anaesthesia.
  • Surgical risks:
    • Infection : The wound or the joint can get infected. Antibiotics are given during surgery to help prevent this.
    • Damage to vessels or nerves.
    • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
        • are very rare occurrences.
    • A blood clot can develop in the veins of the leg (deep vein thrombosis, DVP). This clot can break off and cause a blockage in the lungs. It is usually treatable, but it can be a life-threatening condition. (blood clots in a vein of the leg)
    • Numbness around the incision: there is usually a patch of numbness or sensory disturbance in front of the knee joint, secondary to bruising or damage to the skin nerves that supply the area. This may be permanent.
    • Stiffness
  • ACL reconstruction specific complications
    • Rupture of the graft: the graft can fail early by rupture of its fixation or lately due to a further injury and ongoing instability and pain after ligament surgery.
  • Knee replacement :
    • A knee replacement is a commonly performed and generally safe surgical procedure. For most people, the benefits are far greater than the disadvantages.
    • Side effects : after surgery your knee will be sore when you move it and swollen for up to three months. You will have a scar in front of the knee. The scar and the outer side of the knee may be numb, which can sometimes be permanent.

    • Some complications specific to a knee replacement :

      • Sometimes it is not possible to make the new knee fully stable and you may need to have another operation.
      • A build-up scar tissue occasionnally restricts movement. Another operation may be performed to break down the scar tissue. In rare cases, the loss of movement may be permanent.
      • The knee cap can become dislocated after surgery.

I once again insist on how important it is, to keep me informed as you go along of any problem you meet +++.

Docteur Jean Etienne Perraudin; Last updated 9 march 2008.

knee anatomy
knee surgery paris
knee surgery
knee prosthesis
ligament croidé antérieur
prothèse du genou
 meniscus tear knee surgery
anterior cruciate ligament
ligament croisé antérieur
knee sprains
arthrose genou
knee arthroscopy
acl reconstruction, ligamentoplasty
knee replacement
knee osteotomy