Loosening of the Implant After Knee Replacement Surgery
A major complication that can occur after knee replacement surgery is a loosening of the implant. This problem may require a repeat surgery to replace the joint, especially if there is pain. The results of a repeat surgery are usually not as good as with the first surgery, and the risk of other complications is higher.
Loosening of the implant after knee replacement surgery is a serious, long-term problem. It occurs either because the cement loses its hold on the implant or because the bone dissolves from around the cement. Another problem is the wearing out of the plastic insert. This causes metal to rub against metal, resulting in poor knee function.
A repeat surgery may be needed for this complication, especially if it is painful. Usually, 1 out of 100 patients require a repeat surgery during the first year. After 10 years, the chance of needing a repeat surgery is about 10 percent, or 10 in 100 patients.
Loosening of the implant is in part related to how heavy and active you are. Your artificial knee is not designed to handle more physical stress than normal walking.
Loose, painful artificial knees can usually, but not always, be replaced. The results of a second operation are rarely as good as the first, and the risk of complications is higher. Therefore, it is important that you attend follow-up visits with your doctor as scheduled, even if you are not having pain. X-rays may show the implant loosening before you develop problems.