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Toronto, AL M5N 2M7
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Fax: 416-483-2654

Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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You know how when you're just about to have some type of surgery, people come out of the woodwork to tell you horrow stories about that operation? Well, that's happening to me. I decided to have a total knee replacement and now I'm hearing about people who ended up with an amputation and other who died on the table. Are these stories really true? How often does this kind of stuff really happen?

With any surgery, there is always the possibility of problems called complications. Some of the more serious complications can include death. But these are rare and usually occur in patients with other problems, such as a pre-existing condition (heart disease, high blood pressure). Blood clots are always a potential danger in any hip or knee surgery. Surgeons take every precaution to prevent these. Special medications are prescribed (blood thinners to prevent excessive clotting), pneumatic pumps are used on the legs to keep circulation going and prevent swelling, and patients wear special support hose to accomplish the same goals. All of these things combined together are very helpful in reducing the risk of a life-threatening blood clot. Amputations have been reported. But these are rare. For example, in one large study, three patients out of 2,318 required amputation after a total knee replacement. In all three cases, there were other health problems contributing to the loss of limb. One patient had peripheral vascular disease that resulted in a loss of blood supply to the knee. Another patient fell and needed surgery to repair a torn tendon. An infection developed and spread. These are rare, but very unfortunate incidences. Don't hesitate to bring your questions and concerns up with your surgeon. Your own past medical history, current health, and level of fitness will affect your results. Knowing the risk factors and how to minimize and prevent complications is important.


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*Disclaimer:*The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.

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