[Comparison of early postoperative functional activity levels of patients undergoing unilateral and bilateral total knee arthroplasty]

Serkan Bakirhan, Bayram Unver, Vasfi Karatosun
Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica 2009, 43 (6): 478-83

OBJECTIVES: We compared early postoperative functional activities of patients undergoing unilateral and bilateral total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

METHODS: A total of 241 patients underwent bilateral (n=130; 12 men, 118 women; mean age 67.5+/-7.6 years) or unilateral (n=111; 7 men, 104 women; mean age 66.3+/-9.0 years) primary TKA for gonarthrosis. All the patients had indications for bilateral TKA and received the same rehabilitation program postoperatively. Functional activities and walking speed of the patients were assessed with the Iowa Level of Assistance Scale and Ambulation Velocity Scale, respectively, before surgery and on the second and sixth postoperative days and during discharge. In addition, knee range of motion and HSS (Hospital for Special Surgery) knee scores were measured.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the two groups preoperatively (p>0.05). Compared to baseline, functional activity levels during discharge showed significant improvement in both groups (p<0.05), whereas improvement in walking speed was significant only in the unilateral TKA group (p<0.05). Comparison of postoperative functional activity levels favored unilateral over bilateral TKA in all instances (p<0.05). The two groups did not differ significantly with respect to postoperative walking speed, HSS knee scores, range of motion of the knee, and mean hospital stay (p>0.05). Complications included knee hematoma (n=2) and deep vein thrombosis (n=1) in the unilateral TKA group, and knee hematoma (n=1) in the bilateral TKA group.

CONCLUSION: Postoperative physiotherapy programs should consider decreases in functional activities of patients undergoing bilateral TKA.

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