Accelerated recovery for unicompartmental knee replacement--a feasibility study.
Beard DJ., Murray DW., Rees JL., Price AJ., Dodd CAF.
A pilot study assessed the feasibility of discharging NHS patients undergoing knee replacement within a day of surgery. Seven patients with medial compartment osteoarthritis were recruited after fulfilling strict exclusion criteria. Pre-operative assessment revealed that all patients had significant dysfunction and pain before operation. They had medial unicompartmental replacement through a short incision without dislocation of the patella. Each patient underwent an accelerated recovery program that included pain control, physiotherapy and self-assessment. Patients were mobilised immediately after operation. Follow-up assessment was performed at 1, 2 and 6 weeks after surgery. All patients, except one (who failed to go home because of an administrative error), returned home the day after surgery. The average pain score for the first 2 weeks after surgery was 2/10. At 6 weeks, knee flexion averaged 125 degrees and all patients were walking independently and painfree. The new protocol allows for early, safe discharge of patients undergoing unicompartmental knee replacement.