One of the major risks of replacement is a blood clot. When a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the leg, it can break away and travel to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism, a potentially life-threatening complication. Preventing blood clots is an important part of any surgery, especially joint replacement.
Steps patients should take include not smoking, considering regional anesthesia (not general anesthesia), using foot pumps and compression stockings, and use of a blood thinning medication. The type of blood thinners include injectible medications (such as Lovenox), Coumadin, or even Aspirin.
While there is no clear best option, each of the medications has different pros and cons. You can discuss with your surgeon the best option to prevent a blood clot after your surgery.