He added, "Orthopedic surgeons are very aware of this problem and do an excellent job in choosing patients that are most likely to benefit from surgery, and they are very religious in terms of providing some form of prophylaxis after surgery."
Dr. Joel Buchalter, an orthopedic surgeon at Somers Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Group in Carmel, N.Y., agreed. He said that the risk of blood clots after joint replacement surgery may be even higher. The new study looked only at patients who developed blood clots in the hospital, but these blood clots can develop weeks after the surgery, he said.
Signs of a blood clot may include swelling, tenderness and pain when flexing the ankle, Buchalter said. "If a person has any of these symptoms, an ultrasound exam can rule a blood clot in or out, but many times blood clots have no symptoms. Some people have a great-looking leg and have a blood clot and don't even know it," he said.
Dr. Mathias Bostrom, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, said that the risk for blood clots after a joint replacement is real. "The new study once again reinforces that even in 2012, the risk of blood clots after total knee or hip replacement surgery is significant," Bostrom said. There are many new drugs available today to help lower risk for blood clots after surgery, but these do have risks of their own, he said.
Learn more about deep vein thrombosis at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
SOURCES: John Heit, M.D., cardiologist, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Mathias Bostrom, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City; Joel Scott Buchalter, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, Somers Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Group, Carmel, N.Y.; Jan. 18,
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