Tourniquets are often used to provide a bloodless operating field. However, they carry the risk of adverse effects caused by DNA damage from the free radicals generated during postischemic reperfusion of the blood. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cytogenetic damage caused by postischemic reperfusion on peripheral lymphocytes of five women and six men undergoing total knee arthroplasty "bloodless" operation using samples received before, during, immediately, and 1 h after the operations. The sister chromatid exchange assay was applied to peripheral blood lymphocyte cultures and the levels of sister chromatid exchanges were analyzed as a quantitative index of genotoxicity, along with the values of mitotic index and proliferation rate index as qualitative indices of cytotoxicity and cytostaticity, respectively. We observed that postischemic reperfusion induced cytogenetic damages specifically through reperfusion. DNA effects were most pronounced after tourniquet release and declined afterward without returning to preischemic baseline values. Our findings suggest the presence of a functional association between postischemic reperfusion and cytogenetic damage that may have important clinical implications.