At the 2013 Knee Society meeting in Chicago, Illinois, March 23, 2013, several papers were presented, detailing factors affecting recovery from knee replacement. A multicenter study presented by Dr. J. Parvizi, et al, looked at data from 661 patients with an average age of 54 years old, 61% of which were female. They analyzed them at 1 to 3 years after a knee replacement. They used a third-party independent survey team to eliminate observer bias in the data collection. What they found is that overall there was a high degree of satisfaction with regard to pain relief and function after knee replacement in the range of 85% to 90% of patients. Sixty-six percent of the patients felt their knee felt “normal.” One-third of patients experienced some residual pain, one-third of patients felt there was some residual stiffness, and 50% of patients noted some difficulty “going up and down stairs.” Fifty percent of patients felt they had some residual limp. In another study by the same group of physicians questioning the same group of patients regarding their return to work, they found that patients who were working the 3 months prior to their knee replacements had a high percentage of return to work. Over 95% of patients returned to work after surgery including work that was characterized as both heavy and moderately heavy duty. The time off work varied depending on the physical demands of the job.
—William P. Barrett, MD