Orthopedic Surgery Complications: Know the Risks, Preventative Measures, and Get Medical Help

Orthopedic surgery exposes patients to inherent risks. While this type of surgery is often necessary to address musculoskeletal issues it does have its risks. Patients will want to learn about those risks and understand preventative measures to manage them. It’s also important to know when to get medical help so the situation doesn’t get worse.

Potential Complications

There are five issues associated with orthopedic surgeries. They can range from common to very severe complications and each of these issues should be discussed immediately with your doctor. Act quickly on your concerns to help yourself have a better surgical outcome.

Examples include:

  1. Infection: Surgery is generally known to increase the risk of infection. This is because surgery disrupts the body’s normal defenses and introduces pathogens. Infection is particularly concerning whenever implants or prosthetics are involved in a surgery.
  2. Blood Clots: After surgery, there is usually a concern that blood clots can form. Clots pose life-threatening risks if they travel to vital organs such as the heart. After a knee surgery a patient experienced a blood clot in his leg. It caused severe pain and required immediate medical help to stop further complications.
  3. Nerve Damage: Risk of nerve damage is high when operations happen near the nerves. It can cause temporary or even permanent nerve damage.
  4. Postoperative Pain: Postoperative pain is expected and can be managed with proper medication and techniques.
  5. Extended Recovery: Complications and individual health factors can prolong recovery as one patient learned. The patient had a hip replacement surgery and developed a postoperative infection due to improper wound care. The infection required more treatment and lengthened the patient’s recovery process.

Preventative Measures

Patients can take steps to reduce the risk of complications, however.

  1. Preoperative Evaluation: Discuss in detail all medical history, medications, and allergies with your surgeon.
  2. Follow Surgeon’s Instructions: Follow preoperative instructions, such as fasting and medication adjustments.
  3. Healthy Lifestyle: A balanced diet, exercise and stopping smoking will improve surgical outcomes.
  4. Postoperative Care: Go to follow-up appointments, follow rehabilitation plans, and report any symptoms to your doctor.

Get Medical Help

Patients need to know when to seek medical help because it’s vital for early intervention and recovery. Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience:

– Anything you consider unusual symptoms, persistent pain, or swelling after surgery.

– Any signs of infection, including a fever, redness, warmth, or discharge from the surgical site.

– Any difficulty breathing, chest pain, or swelling in the legs which can suggest blood clot complications.

– Any questions or concerns about the surgical outcome, such as limited mobility or instability.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) is an authority on risks related to surgery. Visit their website for comprehensive resources and guidelines at American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (

In addition, if you believe that medical malpractice has occurred as a result of a doctor’s negligence, be sure to contact our seasoned personal injury attorneys.

Learn More From an Orthopedic Surgery Complications Attorney in Chattanooga

Orthopedic surgery can improve a person’s quality of life. Yet, it’s essential to know the potential complications and take measures to reduce risks. Patients can get through their surgeries with more confidence when they:

  • understand preventative measures,
  • know when to get medical help, and
  • stay informed through reputable sources.

Your health and well-being are important so communicate with your healthcare team and speak up for your needs.

Get Help From Our Experienced Attorneys