knee replacement and allergies

Knee replacement & Allergic reactions

If your doctor tells you that the permanent treatment for your knee condition is a total knee replacement, you might have many questions in your mind, but might not be able to discuss them with the doctor because of various barriers. Here we try to answer most of the queries. Let’s check it out.

Few questions that arise about Knee replacement

  • What is a total knee replacement?
  • Whether surgery can be avoided and if treatment through medications is an option?
  • How soon do you need to undergo surgery or how long can the procedure be delayed?
  • How long, before you can resume normal activities?
  • The extent of activity you can expect after recovery?
  • Cost of surgery?
  • Duration of surgery/hospital stay?

We have tried to answer most of the above questions in our previous articles related to total knee replacements.

Yet, there are some additional questions that you need to ask, which are:

  • What type of implant will be used to replace your knee?
  • What is the longevity of the implant to be used?
  • Will a revision surgery be required? If yes, when?
  • Whether the implant is biocompatible?
  • What are the chances of developing an allergic reaction to the implant?
  • What is the success rate of the implant or how is it superior to other implants?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the recommended type, over other implants?

A study in 2013, analyzed data to answer one of the above questions, that is, what is the prevalence of hypersensitivity (allergic reaction) due to metal or bone cement used in implants in total knee arthroplasty (TKA)?

It was found that allergies to implant metal and cement were rare. Of the 46 studies that were reviewed, the cause of revision surgery due to an allergic reaction to the implant or bone cement was found to range between 0.06% and 0.32%, over a 10 year period. These numbers imply that 6 to 32 patients out of 10,000 underwent TKR revision surgeries as a result of allergic reactions.

Hypoallergenic materials or cementless TKA was recommended for operating on patients with known allergies to metal or bone cement.

Patch testing was recommended to confirm self-reported allergies. Furthermore, materials, such as coated titanium or cobalt chromium, ceramic, and oxidized zirconium were chosen for TKA implants in patients who had confirmed allergies to metals.

The knowledge of a possible allergy to an implant is essential for patients since usually, patients are not aware of their allergies. For instance, a patient who hasn’t undergone any surgical procedure in the past, may not know that he or she has an allergy to bone cement.

In case of a doubt, or in patients who are not aware of their allergies, a patch test can be performed by the surgeon for screening and diagnosis of hypersensitivity.

Apart from reducing the rate of revision surgeries, such precautions can also help in decreasing the number of implant failures.

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Knee replacement & Allergic reactions
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