Risks of Delaying Joint Replacement Surgery

The prolonged delay in having joint replacement surgery results in increased complications or problems in day-to-day activities and negatively impacts your lifestyle. The greater the delay in the surgery, the greater the risk of developing complications. Sometimes the condition becomes worse based on the patient’s age, his daily physical activities, weight, and other general health conditions etc.

These complications may include:

Joint damage

The delay in joint replacement surgery causes joint damage because it allows the joint to keep moving when it is already damaged. This can cause the joint to become more damaged and make it harder to repair.

Muscle weakness

The most common reason for muscle weakness is inactivity. When a person doesn’t use their muscles, they can begin to atrophy or shrink. This can happen after an injury or during a prolonged illness. It can also be a side effect of certain medications. 

The delay in joint replacement surgery causes muscle weakness because the muscles are not being used as much. The more pain you feel, the less you’ll move. This leads to the degradation of muscles, making your joints more vulnerable.

Loss of mobility

The loss of joint mobility due to a delay in joint replacement surgery can be significant because it can take up to two years for the surgery to be approved and completed. This long wait can cause the joint to become stiff and difficult to move.


When a patient has joint damage from arthritis, the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones in the joint begins to wear away. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes thin and frayed. The bone underneath the cartilage begins to change, becoming thicker and forming bone spurs. The cartilage may wear away so much that the bone ends begin to rub against each other, causing pain and loss of motion in the joint. Joint replacement surgery replaces the damaged joint with an artificial joint.

If a patient delays joint replacement surgery, the joint damage may become worse. The pain may become more severe, and the patient may lose more motion in the joint. The joint may also become deformed. In severe cases, the joint damage may be so bad that the patient may need to have the joint removed (amputation).


It is possible that infection due to the delay in the joint replacement procedure is caused by a number of factors, including the length of time the patient has to wait for the surgery, the patient’s general health, and the type of joint being replaced. The infectious bacteria can enter the damaged joint through the bloodstream.

There may be several reasons why a delay in the joint replacement procedure might cause infection. The first is that if the joint is not replaced in a timely manner, the joint itself may become infected.

Joint Deformity

In most cases of severe joint arthritis, joint replacement is inevitable. Delay in surgery, progresses the condition gradually over time. Even in situations where accelerated change occurs, the process takes time. As arthritis worsens, the risk of joint deformity also increases. Knock-knee or bow-legged deformities are most common in patients with knee arthritis. 

A person who suffers from hip arthritis may experience a shortening of the leg length due to the loss of cartilage and bone. With increasing joint deformity, joint replacement becomes more challenging. To correct the deformity, your surgeon may need to use specialized implants.

General Health Problems

If your joint replacement surgery got delayed, your surgeon might overcome the technical difficulties. However, ageing and decreased physical activity can result in medical problems like weight loss, fatigue, cardiac problems and pulmonary disorders etc. If you wait too long to replace your joint, you may have to deal with all these concerns.

The risks of delaying joint replacement surgery should be discussed with your orthopaedic surgeon if you are having any joint problems. To know more details consult Dr. Ajay Tiwari, one of the best orthopaedic joint replacement surgeons in Hyderabad. He is a hip and knee joint replacement specialist who can provide surgical treatment for patients with diseases and injuries such as arthritis, traumatic injury, congenital deformities, and degenerative diseases of the bones, joints, and muscles.

Call +919849982203 to make an appointment for an initial consultation. During the consultation, the surgeon will assess your problems and makes recommendations for treatment.


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