The Benefits of Tourniquet-less Knee Replacement Surgery

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The use of a tourniquet during total knee replacement surgery is quite common. However, many patients don’t know or fully understand the risks of using a tourniquet during surgery. Traditionally, a tourniquet is used during surgery to create a bloodless surgical area and reduce intraoperative bleeding, which can reduce surgical time. There are adverse side effects to using a tourniquet that many people don’t know about, including an increase in pain. So, as a patient, it is important to understand your surgical plan and ask questions.

Risk of using a tourniquet during knee replacement surgery

  • Increased pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Ischemia (shortage of blood and oxygen to the heart)
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Blood clot
  • Poor wound healing
  • Longer recovery
  • Temporary reduction in muscle strength
  • Reduced range of motion in knee

Many of the potential side effects of a tourniquet arise post-operatively during recovery.

During knee replacement surgery, some surgeons only use a tourniquet for a brief period to control the bleeding during surgery. Since the tourniquet is not used the entire time, patients often see a reduction in swelling and bleeding around the surgical site, as well as the following benefits:

  • Reduced pain
  • Quicker recovery
  • Ability to begin physical therapy and rehabilitation quicker
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Up and walking same day as surgery
Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.