Visitor Question

Artery damaged during total knee replacement…

Submitted By: Sonja (VA)

I had total knee replacement surgery. During the surgery the doctor accidentally cut the popliteal artery. The damage was not noticed until I was in recovery, at which time they called in a vascular surgeon who had to go in through the back of my knee and perform an arterial graft with a vein from my leg.

I ended up spending a week in the hospital (instead of the standard 2 days). Now a month later, I am experiencing severe leg pain, edema and numbness in my lower leg and foot, muscle cramping, and extra pain when I am laying down.

The knee surgeon admitted that he made a mistake, but said that part of the problem was that the artery was harder than normal. The vascular surgeon told me, post-op, that there was no hardening of the artery.

I have done some research on the subject of popliteal arterial surgery, and I can expect pain on walking and resting, continued swelling and edema, and numbness for anywhere from 3 months to two years. There is also the possibility of post-op infection (up to months after surgery), paralysis, or even amputation of the leg.

Do I have a case for medical malpractice? What can I do? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Sonja,

From the facts you present, you may have the basis of a medical malpractice claim. The facts supporting your claim appear to be:

First: Your initial surgeon admitted to making a mistake.

Second: Your initial doctor told you there was no hardening of the artery and the vascular surgeon told you that wasn’t true.

Medical malpractice claims are complex and expensive. You can be confident that although the initial surgeon may have admitted to making a mistake, he or she won’t agree to pay you the compensation you likely deserve. Instead, the surgeon will immediately turn any claim over to his or her insurance company.

Med mal claims should only be pursued by an experienced malpractice attorney. Go online. Most successful attorneys list the cases they’ve successfully settled or won at trial, and the amounts recovered for their clients.

Make several appointments. Most reputable malpractice attorneys do not charge for initial consultations. Visit with several attorneys until you find one you feel comfortable with. Let the attorney take it from there.

Learn more here: Lawsuits for Surgical Malpractice

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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