Every year, thousands of people undergo knee replacement surgery. Normally, only about 1% develop an infection. Unfortunately, there is growing evidence that a common surgical blanket could be contributing to the problem.
Knee Replacement Infections
Deep joint infections are the most serious risks of knee replacement surgery. Symptoms typically include high fever, shaking chills, night sweats, drainage from the knee, redness, pain, swelling, stiffness, and fatigue. Complications of an infected knee replacement include:
- Hospitalization: Infections deep in the knee can spread to the bloodstream or other parts of the body, which is why patients often must be hospitalized to receive intravenous (IV) antibiotics.
- Surgery: Caught early enough, infections can often be cured with surgery to wash out the knee, remove contaminated soft tissues, remove the original artificial joint, and insert antibiotic spacers.
- Knee replacement: Once the infection is under control, another surgery will be necessary to replace the artificial knee.
- Amputation: If the infection can’t be controlled, the leg may need to be amputated.
Long Road to Recovery
Patients who develop severe knee replacement infections face years of recovery. It will take at least a few months to clear the infection and replace the joint, plus months of rehabilitation. Even with aggressive treatment, many victims are left with permanent disabilities.