Knee Replacement Risks Just Keep Adding Up

by Chris Centeno, MD /

knee replacement risks

It seems the minute I finish sharing a newly discovered knee replacement risk with you, another risk pops up just around the corner. A couple of months ago, it was a study showing knee replacement increased the risk for hip fractures. I’ve also covered extensively the risk of metal ions in the blood, ongoing pain and reliance on pain medications, heart attack and stroke, and the inability to return to expected activity levels. Here’s a knee replacement risk I haven’t yet shared—the same study that concluded an increased risk of a hip fracture following knee replacement also found an increased risk of a vertebra fracture.

What Is a Vertebra and How Does It Fracture?`

The vertebrae (one back bone is a vertebra; two or more back bones are vertebrae) are the 24 bones that form the foundation of the spinal column, which travels down the middle of the back, from the neck to the lower back. When you envision the spine, it’s these vertebrae you typically think of, but the spinal column is made up of many other structures as well: intervertebral discs, facet joints, muscles, nerves, and so on. Just like any other bone in the body, a vertebra can fracture. A vertebral fracture can be caused from anything from a severe injury, like one sustained in an automobile accident, to a weakening of aging bone, such as what occurs in osteoporosis, to everything in between.

So how do we connect point A, knee replacement, to point B, vertebral fracture? Let’s dive into the study first.

Study Shows Increase in Vertebral Fractures Following Knee Replacement

In May I covered the study mentioned above showing a 4% increased risk of hip fractures during the 10 years following knee replacement. Results of the study also showed a more disturbing increased risk for vertebral fractures in this group—a whopping 11% during the 10 years following knee replacement. This was a huge study that looked at an entire population of Swedish citizens over a 50-year period (1902–1952), and the risk for vertebral fracture before surgery was low in those who received knee replacements.

So the truth is, we don’t really know, yet, how a knee replacement increases the risk for a vertebral fracture. Further research will need to be done to connect point A to point B. Is it biomechanical, perhaps due to due the increased activity of rehabilitation after knee replacement? Is it biochemical, perhaps related to the metal ions or allergens of the knee prosthetics affecting bone in other areas of the body? Or is there some type of biological process associated with knee replacements we haven’t yet discovered? Time will tell, and with new research publishing all the time on knee replacement risks, time is likely to tell sooner rather than later.

If this isn’t enough to make you reconsider this procedure, let’s review the myriad of knee replacement risks below. This isn’t a decision you want to make without knowing what you are potentially facing following surgery.

Knee Replacement Risks Covered Before on This Blog

In case you are a new reader or just need a quick review of the previous knee replacement risks and complications I’ve covered in prior blog posts, here is a nonexhaustive list of topics and links and the general questions they answer:

The upshot? Even in the world of traditional medicine, knee replacements should never be plan A. They should be the last resort. Why? Because when you cut out a joint; sever the ends of the bones that connect to it; manipulate the vessels and other structures; and drill in a metal, plastic, or ceramic prosthetic joint, there will be issues to deal with—long recovery and rehabilitation times, the stress and pain of surgery itself, complications, and so on. And the bizarre fact is, while there are some serious cases where knee replacement truly is the last resort, one-third of knee replacements aren’t even necessary. In addition, there may be nonsurgical options in regenerative medicine that can help, so for most patients there’s no reason to contemplate knee replacement risks!.

Category: Back/lumbar, Knee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.