While in some cases orthopedic surgery is the only viable treatment for an injury, all surgeries come with some risk, and invasive orthopedic surgeries are no exception. Though it’s typically safer than the surgeries themselves, general anesthesia carries risk of heart attack or stroke. Additionally, any surgery can lead to infection and other related complications. Heart attacks, stroke, blood clots, hemorrhages, allergies, and in the case of joint replacements, metal ions in the blood can also result from orthopedic surgeries. Actual risk rates vary from surgery to surgery with some body parts being considerably safer than others, but all bear substantially greater risk than injection-based treatments such as those used by Regenexx.
In addition to risks from the surgery itself, many patients find they are not entirely satisfied with the outcome. Loss of full range of motion, continued pain, and need for revisions (surgical corrections to the original procedure) are not uncommon outcomes from orthopedic surgeries. They additionally often come with lengthy recovery time, and the procedures can leave surrounding tissues damaged and weak which increases the risk of repeated injury. Joint replacements come with more risk still since they involve permanently removing parts of your joint and replacing them with plastic or metal, and these prosthetics can become loose or fail entirely. Most joint replacements need to be repeated within 10-15 years and can only be performed twice in a lifetime. Regenexx encourages patients to educate themselves as to all of their available options prior to undergoing an irreversible surgical procedure.