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9 Disadvantages of Knee Replacement Surgery

Medically Reviewed by Cellaxys

By Published: March 27, 2024No Comments
disadvantages of knee replacement surgery
Dr Pouya Mohajer


Medically Reviewed

Published on: March 27, 2024 | Updated on: March 3, 2024

Knee replacement surgery replaces the damaged or injured knee with an implant (prosthesis). Depending on the severity of the damage, the surgery can be a total or a partial replacement. Typically, doctors suggest surgery in severe knee conditions like arthritis, 24/7 pain and stiffness, bowed legs, etc.

However, like with other surgical procedures, knee replacement surgery also has risks and complications. The most common ones include infections, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), loose or dislocated artificial joints, tendon damage, loss of mobility, and more.

These disadvantages may seem intimidating, but the good news is that surgery is not always the only option for knee pain. With recent advancements in regenerative medicine, orthobiologic treatments like stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy are emerging as the best knee replacement alternatives.  

9 Complications After Knee Replacement Surgery 

Complications After Knee Replacement Surgery 

Some possible complications after knee replacement surgery include but not limited to the following:

1. Infections

Infections are the most common side effects of surgical procedures, however; it only impacts a few people. For every 600,000 knee replacement surgeries performed annually, only 2% develop infections. 

This condition can involve muscles, skin, or the artificial joint inserted during the knee replacement surgery. To prevent the chances of infections, the doctor uses antibiotic prophylaxis before the surgery, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. In some cases of infections, the artificial joints may be replaced later. 

2. Continuous Pain and Discomfort

Knee replacement surgery can lead to persistent discomfort and pain even with medications and physical therapy. In fact, a study found that 20% of the patients suffer chronic pain after a knee replacement surgery.

This post-surgery pain is usually associated with the implant’s placement. If it’s fitted loosely, it may lead to a deep infection accompanied by severe pain. That’s why it’s important to opt for a skilled surgeon with precise skills. 

Besides pain, you may also experience joint stiffness and a limited range of motion, mainly due to scar tissue development around the replaced knee. In rare conditions, wounds may also form in the injury site, which can be quite challenging to treat in patients with diabetes. 

3. Issues with the Implant

The artificial implants contain titanium or a cobalt-chromium-based alloy. They are made of plastic, ceramic, or metal. While metal implants are less expensive and durable, they are not ideal for everyone. 

People with metal allergies should always opt for plastic, or else, they may show an allergic reaction over time. Over time, the knee implant can get damaged and lead to difficulties in moving or bending the knee. This usually occurs many years after surgery, mainly due to an injury or if you are overweight or perform high-impact activities. 

Sometimes, the cement used to fit the implant doesn’t hold and dislocate it. Your doctor must consider your medical history before performing a knee replacement surgery. Ceramic is generally less likely to cause any reaction, so it’s ideal for people with metal allergies. 

Recurring implant problems can lead to joint revision surgery. According to an estimation, 6% of people opt for this surgery after five years, while 12% go for it after ten years.

4. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)  

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) refers to blood clot formation in one or more deep veins after a surgical procedure. It typically occurs around the hip and legs, the prime location in the knee replacement surgery. 

In severe conditions, this blood clot travels to the lungs with the bloodstream, causing restriction in the blood flow called pulmonary embolism. Around 3.5% of DVT cases arise during the patient’s post surgery stay at the hospital.

5. Uneven Length of the Legs

Knee replacement surgery treats bowed legs and knock-kneed gait, but it can often result in uneven difference in the leg’s length. This condition can also lead to severe hip, ankle, and back issues. Your doctor may perform another surgery to correct this problem after the knee replacement procedure.

6. Nerve Damage

Knee replacement surgery is a major procedure that can result in nerve damage. Around 10% of people can develop it during or after the surgery. Nerve damage or compression leads to weakness, numbness, tingling, foot drop, or burning sensations.

7. Tendon or Ligament Damage

Our body consists of many tendons and ligaments. While tendons attach the muscles to the bones, ligaments connect one bone to the another. Together they form a solid structure for the body and keep it stable. 

Ligaments and tendons also provide support and stability to the knee. Unfortunately, they can get damaged during the knee replacement surgery and lead to intense knee pain, instability, and limited movement. 

8. Loss of Motion

Knee replacement can not only restrict mobility, but also lead to stiffness in the joint. Over time, it can result in complete loss of motion, making the patient’s life challenging to spend. You may not be able to perform high impact activities, let alone walking or running. 

9. High Heart Attack Risks

Total joint replacement surgery is associated with many cardiac issues, including arrhythmia, irregular heartbeat, and even heart attack. These problems usually arise due to low blood oxygen or blood loss during the procedure. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you’re more likely to experience these issues. 

Regenerative Medicine: A Non-Invasive Alternative to Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery can bring many complications, which is why it’s best to avoid it and look for other natural treatments based on regenerative medicine. At CELLAXYS, our board-certified surgeons perform two types of orthobiologic methods: cell-based therapies (stem cell therapy) and platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP). 

Both these treatments are performed as outpatient procedures and use the patient’s own cells and tissues to promote healing after an injury. Since the doctor doesn’t use any foreign element, these alternatives have no risks and no pain. 

Cell-based Therapies

Cell-based therapies are more common as stem cell therapy. In the procedure, the doctor extracts healthy cells from other parts of the patient’s body, processes them, and reinjects them into the affected knee. 

Depending on your condition, the surgeon may opt for one of the two types of cell-based therapies:

  • Minimally Manipulated Adipose Tissue Transplant (MMAT). This procedure involves harvesting healthy cells from the patient’s adipose (fat) tissues. 
  • Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMAC). In BMAC, the surgeon extracts highly concentrated cells from the patient’s bone marrow. 

Both MMAT and BMAC take about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.

Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)

PRP has been the most-recommended alternative to knee replacement surgery for athletes for over a decade. The procedure involves taking a patient’s blood sample, separating platelets from it, and reinjecting them into the injury site. A high number of platelets in the injured knee means early recovery, since these are the healing components of our body.

Platelets perform three main functions. They release 10 growth factors, produce fibrin (a web-like scaffolding), and attract healing cells from the blood to support new tissue development. 

PRP takes about 45 minutes to complete. Patients who undergo PRP and cell-based therapies at CELLAXYS report quick improvement in their knee condition. They are able to regain their stability within a few weeks in a painless, less invasive, and risk-free method. 

Contact our board-certified surgeons today to learn more about these knee replacement surgery alternatives!

CELLAXYS does not offer Stem Cell Therapy as a cure for any medical condition. No statements or treatments presented by Cellaxys have been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This site contains no medical advice. All statements and opinions are provided for educational and informational purposes only.


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Dr. Pejman Bady began his career over 20 years ago in Family/Emergency Medicine, working in fast-paced emergency departments in Nevada and Kansas. He has served the people of Las Vegas as a physician for over two decades. Throughout this time, he has been met with much acclaim and is now the head of Emergency Medical Services in Nye County, Nevada. More about the doctor on this page.

disadvantages of knee replacement surgery

Dr Pouya Mohajer


Pouya Mohajer, M.D. is the Director of Spine and Interventional Medicine for CELLAXYS: Age, Regenerative, and Interventional Medicine Centers. He has over 20 years of experience in pain management, perioperative medicine, and anesthesiology. Dr. Mohajer founded and is the Medical Director of Southern Nevada Pain Specialists and PRIMMED Clinics. He has dedicated his career to surgical innovation and scientific advancement. More about the doctor on this page.

Dr. Pejman Bady

Dr. Pejman Bady began his career over 20 years ago in Family/Emergency Medicine, working in fast-paced emergency departments in Nevada and Kansas. He has served the people of Las Vegas as a physician for over two decades. Throughout this time, he has been met with much acclaim and is now the head of Emergency Medical Services in Nye County, Nevada. More details about the doctor on this page.


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