The Bee's Knees

The Bee's Knees

Deep Vein Thrombosis and Knee Surgery in 2019

March 06, 2019

Threats to a Proper Knee Replacement Recovery (Deep Vein Thrombosis and TKA)

We explore the major obstacles to a successful recovery in a series of blogs. Here we start with Deep Vein Thrombosis (a.k.a. DVT). Let's begin with a definition:

Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins of the body. This can happen if a vein becomes damaged or if the blood flow within a vein slows down or stops. While there are a number of risk factors for developing a DVT, two of the most common are experiencing an injury to your lower body and having surgery that involves your hips or legs. It is a concern for those who undergo a total knee replacement surgery.

Take This Condition Very Seriously
A DVT can have serious consequences. If a blood clot breaks free it may travel through the bloodstream and block blood flow to the lungs. Although rare, this complication—labeled pulmonary embolism—can be fatal.

A clot could also land in the heart and cause a heart attack or stroke. Even if a blood clot does not break free, it may cause permanent damage to the valves in the vein. This damage can lead to long-term problems in the leg such as pain, swelling, and leg sores.

In many cases, DVT occurs without noticeable symptoms. And it can be very difficult to detect. For this reason, doctors focus on preventing the development of DVT using different types of therapies, depending upon a patient's needs. Your doctor will take steps to prevent DVT if you have a major fracture or are having lower extremity surgery—including total hip or total knee replacement.

Symptoms to Watch For
Only about half of people who get DVT have symptoms.
Let your doctor know right away if you have any signs of DVT:

Pain or tenderness in your leg

Swelling or warmth in your leg

Red or discolored skin on your leg

Veins that stick out

Shortness of breath

Coughing up blood

Sudden chest pain

Painful breathing

For more on detecting DVT's visit this link.

The Homan's Test for Blood Clots
with Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck

After Total Knee Replacement
At the Back of Surgical Calf, a Sharp Pain
You may have a challenge with this one. Of course if you’ve had a knee replacement the surgical leg will be in pain. Pain is, of course, normal and the body’s way of letting you know it’s been through trauma. However, if feels “sharp” and concentrated in the back of your calf this is a sign that something may be wrong. If pain feels like it’s “shooting” or “spiking” through the back of your leg, this is beyond normal pain. If you’re experiencing sharp pain through your calf on your surgical side, reach out for help immediately.

Deep Vein Thrombosis and TKA