Blood Loss Management. During every knee replacement surgery, there is a certain amount of blood loss. There are several approaches to address the management of this blood loss that you should discuss with your orthopaedic surgeon, including blood transfusions (self donated or donated by another individual) or PROCRIT treatment.

Blood Transfusion. Many patients who have a knee replacement will require blood transfusion. This can be achieved by transfusing blood that you have donated prior to your surgery or by receiving blood from a donor.

Self Donation. If you are donating blood for your surgery, you will be asked to donate 1 to 2 units of your own blood within 35 days prior to your surgery date. This will involve scheduling an appointment with the blood bank of the hospital, or if necessary, a blood donation facility recommended by your insurance carrier or one closer to where you live (for out-of -state patients) Only one unit of blood can be donated at a time, so you may need to come in for two visits. The blood is then stored until your operation. If you're coming a long way, arrangements can be made to have you give blood locally and have it transported here for your surgery. Please be assured that blood that you give will be given back to you, if needed.

Donor Blood. If you are unable to donate blood, for whatever reason, donor blood may be used in your case, if necessary. Donor blood can be donated by family or friends and directed to you or it can be obtained from the national blood supply. People have expressed some concern about blood transfusion because of the risk of transmitting diseases. Donor blood is carefully screened for communicable diseases. With the new technology, the risk of hepatitis and HIV infection is extremely low. To our knowledge, disease transmission through use of donated blood has never occurred in any of our patients. However, there is no question that your own blood is the safest. Therefore, if you are able, we recommend that you donate blood for your surgery.

Procrit®. Another approach to blood loss management is to treat patients with Procrit ® - a medication that works to increase the red blood cell supply before surgery. If you are a candidate for Procrit treatment, your blood will be tested to determine its hemoglobin (this is a measure of how much of your blood is made up of blood cells). If your hemoglobin is between 10 and 13 (g/dL), you can receive Procrit® treatment. This involves four injections (subcutaneous-under the skin) in once weekly doses (21, 14, and 4 days before surgery) plus a fourth dose on the day of surgery. You will be asked to take iron supplements during this time. If you are interested in more information about Procrit®, please click here.