Blood Clots With a Total Knee Replacement
Following a total knee replacement surgery, blood clots are a possible complication. In most cases, these clots are small, and your body deals with them without you noticing. However, clots can be dangerous if they are large or move to certain areas of your body, like the lungs. If blood clots occur with a total knee replacement, they are typically treated with blood-thinning medication.
Blood Clots and Total Knee Replacement: An Overview
One of the potential knee replacement surgery complications is developing a blood clot within a blood vessel. A clot is a collection of blood material that forms a ball inside of a blood vessel. Because your body has ways of dealing with blood clots, most are not serious and not even noticeable.
Your doctor will make every effort to minimize the chance that you develop a serious clot. Blood clots can become dangerous when they break off from the wall of a blood vessel and travel to various organs. The clot can then partially or completely block blood flow in one of these organs, causing the organ to have a decreased blood supply past the site of the blockage. This can eventually lead to significant organ damage.
Small clots are usually not a significant problem; however, larger clots can cause serious problems. One very serious blood clot is called a pulmonary embolus. This forms when a blood clot from the leg or pelvis breaks off and travels to the lungs. This causes abnormal blood flow through the lungs, making it more difficult for the lungs to provide oxygen to the rest of the body.
Loss of life from a pulmonary embolus is possible when caused by a larger clot. Blood clots are usually treated with blood-thinning medication and extra days in the hospital. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the clot.