98 percent of total knee replacement patients return to life, work following surgery

March 21, 2013

Ninety-eight percent of total knee replacement (TKR) patients who were working before surgery returned to work after surgery, and of those patients, 89 percent returned to their previous position, according to new research presented today at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Another related study highlights the life-restoring outcomes of total hip replacement (THR).

Total , or arthroplasty, among the most widely performed procedures in the world, is known to successfully relieve pain and restore function in with advanced . In the study, "Do Patients Return to Work after Total ?" an independent third party survey center provided and interviewed more than 660 TKR patients (ages 18 to 60) from five major medical centers 1-to-5 years after . from the U.S. Department of Labor's Dictionary of Occupational Titles were used to categorize the patients' physical job demands as sedentary, light, medium, heavy or very heavy.

Complete data was collected on 661 TKR patients (average age 54.2; 61.3 percent female). Among the outcomes:

  • Nearly 75 percent of patients (493) were employed during the three months prior to their TKR and 98 percent returned to work after surgery. Of these patients, 89 percent successfully returned to the job they had prior to surgery.
  • Approximately 13 percent of the patients had sedentary jobs; 11 percent, light jobs; 24 percent, medium; 23 percent, heavy; and, 29 percent very heavy.
  • According to work type the return to work rate was 95 percent among sedentary employees, 91 percent among those in jobs deemed light; 100 percent in medium jobs, 98 percent in heavy jobs, and 97 percent in very heavy jobs.
  • Men were more likely to have worked during the three months before surgery (83 percent versus 70 percent) but of those patients the rates returning to work after surgery were similar (96 percent of men versus 99 percent of women).
"When pain and suffering from end-stage degenerative joint disease of the knee compromises a patient's ability to maintain gainful employment, total knee (replacement) is successful in keeping the patient in the work force," said lead study author and orthopaedic surgeon Adolph V. Lombardi, Jr., MD. "Returning patients back to work not only gives the patient a sense of fulfillment, but also is economically beneficial to our society."

In a related study, "Trends in Patient Before and After Primary Total Hip Arthroplasty," presented on Tuesday, THR patients treated at a large Swiss hospital between 2000 and 2012 were evaluated by a physician, and through self-reported assessments, at 5- and 10-years post surgery on their level of physical activity. Separate analysis was performed according to sex, age, Body Mass Index (BMI) and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status before and after surgery.

Lifestyle was assessed for nearly 2,916 THR patients prior to surgery, and postoperatively for 1,565 patients. The mean age at surgery was 68.4 years, and 56 percent of patients were women.

Among the findings:

  • Prior to surgery, 39 percent of patients reported an active lifestyle compared to 55 percent at five years postoperative.
  • Medical comorbidities, BMI, primary or secondary osteoarthritis diagnosis prior to surgery, and the patient's preoperative activity level, substantially influenced physical activity five years post surgery.
  • In the last decade, the proportion of patients with an active lifestyle before and after THR has increased by 10 percent.
"This is the first study with a long-term follow up (up to 10 years) to evaluate physical activity levels after THR," said lead study author Anne Lübbeke-Wolff, MD, DSc, a Swiss orthopaedic surgeon. "Surgery substantially and durably improved physical activity levels in men and women of all age categories, but the level remained somewhat lower than just before the onset of osteoarthritis symptoms.

"In most instances, patients who had previously participated in activities such as bicycling, bowling, golf, mountain hiking or swimming, and who wished to continue them after surgery, were able to return to these activities," said Dr. Lübbeke-Wolff.

"Patients presenting for THR today are more active than those undergoing surgery a decade ago for similar preoperative pain level. Patients should be given a realistic assessment of what to expect following THR in terms of activity."

Explore further: Sexual function improves significantly after hip or knee replacement surgery

Related Stories

Sexual function improves significantly after hip or knee replacement surgery

March 19, 2013
Osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, affecting millions of Americans each year, is known to limit sexual activity. New research presented today at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) ...

AAOS: Most knee replacement patients return to same jobs

March 19, 2013
(HealthDay)—Most patients who undergo total knee arthroplasty (TKA) return to work, with the majority successfully returning to the same job, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy ...

Antidepressant use linked with less patient satisfaction after hip replacement

February 8, 2012
Patients taking antidepressants up to three years prior to undergoing a total hip replacement (THR) were more likely to report greater pain before and after surgery and less satisfaction with their procedure, according to ...

Current and past smokers face greater risk for hip replacement failure

March 20, 2013
Smoking has been linked to prolonged healing time and greater risk for complications in orthopaedic and other surgeries, according to a new study presented today at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic ...

Living in a sunny climate does not improve vitamin D levels in hip fracture patients

March 19, 2013
While it is well known that a majority of hip fracture patients of all ages and both sexes have insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D, a new study presented today at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy ...

Recommended for you

World's first child hand transplant a 'success'

July 19, 2017
The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself, doctors said Tuesday, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.

Knee surgery—have we been doing it wrong?

July 18, 2017
A team of University at Buffalo medical doctors have published a study that challenges a surgical practice used for decades during arthroscopic knee surgery.

New tools help surgeons find liver tumors, not nick blood vessels

July 17, 2017
The liver is a particularly squishy, slippery organ, prone to shifting both deadly tumors and life-preserving blood vessels by inches between the time they're discovered on a CT scan and when the patient is lying on an operating ...

Researchers discover indicator of lung transplant rejection

July 13, 2017
Research by scientists at Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center's Norton Thoracic Institute was published in the July 12, 2017 issue of Science Translational Medicine titled "Zbtb7a induction in alveolar ...

New device could make closing surgical incisions a cinch

July 7, 2017
Like many surgeons, Dr. Jason Spector is often faced with the challenge of securely closing the abdominal wall without injuring the intestines. If the process goes awry, there can be serious consequences for patients, including ...

Success with first 20 patients undergoing minimally invasive pancreatic transplant surgery

June 29, 2017
Surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medicine report that their first series of a minimally invasive procedure to treat chronic pancreas disease, known as severe pancreatitis, resulted in shorter hospital stays, less need for opioids ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.