For the most part, joint replacement surgery is effective at helping patients live a pain-free, more mobile life. However, like any surgery, it does pose several risks and complications.
While relatively rare, infection can occur after a knee or hip replacement. This is a devastating risk which requires immediate treatment.
Celebrity Olly Murs has recently revealed his struggle with an infection which occurred after his knee replacement. The metal plate within his knee became infected, causing the star to be rushed to hospital. Obviously experiences like this are very worrying and could cause you to think twice about undergoing the procedure. However, it is important to stress the risk of infection is minimal.
Below, you will learn more about infections brought on after a joint replacement and the importance of risk management prior to the procedure.
What causes an infection after knee or hip surgery?
There are numerous potential causes of infection after a knee or hip surgery. The most common is when bacteria enters the wound. It is estimated that one in every 100 patients will develop an infection around the implant, or within the wound.
Infections can occur at any time after the treatment. Some are present immediately after the surgery, while others make take weeks, months or even a year to appear. Some patients are deemed at an increased risk of infection including those with:
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Immunity deficiencies
- Immunosuppressive treatments
An infection could also occur if bacteria enters the body through a separate procedure such as a root canal.
The symptoms of an infection
If the hip or knee does become infected, you will experience several symptoms. The wound may appear red and feel warm to the touch. There may also be swelling, alongside increased pain and stiffness around the joint.
When the body is infected, you will also commonly experience fever, chills and night sweats. If you notice any of these symptoms after undergoing the procedure you should contact your surgeon immediately.
Assessing the joint replacement risks
While infections do occur, there are ways to minimise the risks. Ensuring you choose a reliable and experienced surgeon is of paramount importance. They will be efficient in risk management, ensuring measures are taken to reduce joint replacement risks.
MRSA screening will be carried out to ensure patients are not at a high risk of infection. The hospital or clinic will also be cleaned extensively. Generally speaking, private hospitals tend to be much cleaner than public ones. This is because most offer patients’ private rooms rather than open wards. They also tend to focus more on elective surgeries.
Patients who are discovered to have an increased risk of infection can also be placed onto antibiotics. This will prevent infection, alongside attending follow up appointments for monitoring.
Hip and knee replacements are generally considered a safe and effective procedure. However, patients do need to be aware of the risks involved so they can take precautionary measures if needed. The risk of infection is low and can be reduced further if you ensure you choose an experienced and qualified surgeon.
Despite the current COVID 19 crisis, Mr Simon Bridle is still available for consultations. He will be able to see clinically urgent cases in his clinics, but most consultations will be remote by telemedicine, either telephone or video link.
Appointments can be arranged by contacting his PA Adriana, or by contacting the appointments team at Fortius Clinic, Parkside Hospital or St Anthony’s Hospital.