Bleeding and Total Knee Replacement
With any surgery, including total knee replacement, bleeding will occur. Your healthcare team is well trained to handle the situation. If the bleeding is severe, however, emergency surgery may be required. To minimize the risk of contracting an illness secondary to bleeding during your surgery, you may donate your own blood ahead of time in case you need a transfusion.
During total knee replacement surgery, bleeding is normal. In fact, some bleeding is expected. There can be several causes of bleeding, and the treatment will vary, depending on the cause and your individual situation. It is possible that urgent surgery may be necessary to stop serious bleeding or to repair a blood vessel that was damaged.
If bleeding is severe, blood transfusions are often used. Because the blood and blood products are actively screened for various diseases and problems, including AIDS and hepatitis, these transfusions are generally safe.
There is, however, an extremely rare chance that you may contract an illness secondary to a transfusion. The estimated risk of contracting hepatitis C is 1 in 100,000, hepatitis B is 1 in 200,000, and HIV is about 1 in 600,000.
Depending on your situation, it may be possible for you to donate your own blood. If so, you will usually donate blood about three to four weeks prior to your surgery. This makes the possibility of receiving a transfusion from the blood bank more unlikely.