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Infection After Knee Surgery

Infection After Knee Surgery

If you have suffered a surgical site infection after knee surgery, you might be wondering why it happened and whether it could have been prevented.

How does post-operative knee infection happen?

A surgical site infection (SSI) can happen after any operation, although the risk is particularly prevalent with knee surgery. This is because a large amount of tissue will be damaged, and if an artificial joint has been inserted into the knee, this may be carrying bacteria.

If bacteria do get into the wound, they will multiply and an infection will occur. This will lead to symptoms such as:-

  • A knee that is red and hot to touch;
  • Swelling around the knee;
  • Pain in the joint this may extend down into the calf muscle;
  • Fever.

Medical practitioners should carefully monitor a patient after knee surgery and be quick to act if any of these symptoms arise. If surgical site infection does arise, antibiotics should be administered without delay.

Can infection after knee surgery be prevented?

Post-operative infection is a known risk of knee surgery and the complication cannot be eradicated entirely. However, there are steps that medical practitioners can take to help prevent an infection. These include maintaining excellent standard of hygiene, only using sterile equipment/surgical instruments and administering prophylactic antibiotics to at-risk patients.

Prophylactic antibiotics are provided before the operation as a precautionary measure and should be given to any patient who is particularly vulnerable to infection, including those who are diabetic or obese.

Claiming for infection after knee surgery

Therefore a surgical site infection cannot always be prevented. Nevertheless, there are certain situations in which an infection after knee surgery will be caused (or made worse) by medical error.

For example, if doctors did not carry out the operation in a sterile environment, or accidentally left a surgical instrument (such as a swab) inside the knee, bacteria will be free to enter the body.

There may also be a case of negligence if a knee infection occurs for non-negligent reasons, yet medical professionals fail to diagnose the problem, allowing the infection to spread. This can be extremely troublesome, as the wound may become so deeply infected that another operation is required. In the case of a knee replacement, the infection may be so severe that the artificial joint actually needs to be replaced.

Speak to a solicitor

If you have suffered complications because of an infection after knee surgery and you believe medical error is to blame, get in touch with a solicitor to discuss your options.

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