Preventing Blood Clots
After you undergo knee or hip replacement surgery, your risk for developing a blood clot goes up and stays up for at least two months – possibly longer – after the operation.
There are many kinds of blood clots, and some are more serious than others. Most blood clots that develop after knee or hip replacement surgery develop in veins in the leg. This usually affects the operated leg, but clots can also develop in the other leg. In some cases such clots travel to the lungs.
There’s no way to predict who is at highest risk for developing blood clots after surgery, so all patients having knee or hip replacement are treated with drugs called “anticoagulants” which make your blood thinner and less likely to clump together (clot). You may be told to keep taking these pills for several weeks after surgery or longer, depending on your overall health.
IMPORTANT: Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it’s important to follow recommendations for preventing blood clots, not only while you are in hospital, but possibly for weeks or months after you return home. Remember to write down your doctor’s instructions about preventing blood clots and refer to your notes when you go home.