The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 11, 2780 - 2784

Gastrointestinal Complications Warranting Invasive Interventions Following Total Joint Arthroplasty

Adenikinju, Abidemi S. et al.
Hip Knee


Gastrointestinal (GI) complications following total joint arthroplasty (TJA) are uncommon but can be associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. The current literature on GI complications that warrant invasive procedures after TJA is lacking. This study reviews the incidence and outcomes of GI complications after TJA that went on to require invasive procedures.


All TJA patients at our institution between January 2012 and May 2018 who had GI complications requiring an invasive procedure within 30 days of TJA were identified and retrospectively chart reviewed. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate these patients.


Of 19,090 TJAs in a 6-year period, 34 patients (0.18%) required invasive procedures for GI complications within 30 days of the index surgery. Twenty-two (64%) of the required procedures were endoscopy for suspected GI bleeding. Within this cohort, aspirin was the most common thromboprophylaxis used (63.6% of patients) and smoking was more prevalent (9.1% current smokers) ( P = .28). Of the remaining 12 GI procedures required, 75% were exploratory laparotomies, 44.4% of which were performed for obstruction. Three (33.3%) of the exploratory laparotomy patients died during the study period.


GI complications necessitating surgical intervention after TJA are rare. Suspected GI bleeding is the most common indication for intervention and is typically managed endoscopically. Other complications, such as GI obstruction, often require more extensive intervention and open procedures. Though rare, GI complications following TJA can lead to detrimental outcomes, significant patient morbidity, and occasionally mortality; therefore, a heightened awareness of these complications is warranted.

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