At the most recent Knee Society meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 15, 2014, there were several papers published revealing the percentage of patients who were happy or satisfied after receiving a knee replacement. As was noted by Michael Dunbar, MD, patient satisfaction encompassed many intrinsic and extrinsic factors related to the patient’s experience.
The Swedish Knee Arthroplasty registry, which is a large population study, noted that 17% of patients who had a knee replacement were dissatisfied with some aspect of their knee replacement outcome. Several other large registries have noted a similar rate of patient dissatisfaction. All of these studies indicate the satisfaction after knee replacement correlates most strongly with pain relief, followed by improvement of function. Satisfaction is noted to be a function of the duration of the disease process leading to the knee replacement with patients who have a longstanding history of arthritic problems reporting higher rates of satisfaction compared to those with more acute onset of knee problems.
Unmet expectations are a significant factor associated with dissatisfaction after knee replacement.
The authors pointed out that it is important for the patient and their care team to have a discussion about what is and what is not to be expected after knee replacement and to have a discussion about the anticipated pain relief in function and activity after knee replacement surgery.