A major potential risk with total joint replacement is the risk of infection. When a patient undergoes total joint replacement, they are started on intravenous antibiotic therapy to reduce the chance of infection.
In our experience, and across the country, the risk of infection is approximately 2% or less. This means that 1 case in 200 has the potential for infection.
Infection in the post-operative course in most patients is treatable. It may simply require longer hospitalization, treatment with antibiotics for a longer period than normal, opening the joint and draining it, or in some instances removing the artificial components in order to cure the infection before implanting another artificial joint.
In extreme cases where infection cannot be treated successfully, a patient may need to have the artificial joint removed permanently and have the joint fused.