BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2018 19:414

How do orthopaedic surgeons inform their patients before knee arthroplasty surgery? A cross-sectional study

Aamir Mahdi, Maria Hälleberg Nyman and Per Wretenberg


Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a successful and common procedure. However, 6–28% of patients are dissatisfied postoperatively. The provision of preoperative patient information, inquiring about patients’ expectations, and taking a psychiatric history are essential parts of both preoperative evaluation and postoperative outcome. The aim of this study was to investigate how orthopaedic knee surgeons in Sweden inform their patients before surgery.


A questionnaire was distributed to all knee surgeons performing TKA in Sweden. Responses were received from 60 of the 65 orthopaedic departments performing TKA in Sweden (92%), covering 219 of the approximately 311 knee surgeons at the 65 departments (70%). The answers were analysed with descriptive statistics. A content analysis of the surgeons’ opinions was also performed using a thematic method.


In terms of information provision, 58% of the surgeons always gave written information while 92% informed orally. Only 44% always asked about the patient’s expectations, and only 42% always informed patients about the 20% dissatisfaction rate after TKA. Additionally, 24% never operated on mild indication of arthrosis, 20% always took a psychiatric history, and half never or seldom consulted a psychiatrist. However, all the knee surgeons believed in a psychiatric impact on TKA outcome. Qualitative analysis revealed five common causes of patient dissatisfaction, which in descending frequency were: patients’ expectations, choice of patients to operate on, surgical factors, combinations of factors, and insufficient information provision to patients.


Knee surgeons in Sweden have considerable awareness of the importance of preoperative patient information, the impact of patient expectations, and psychiatric illness. However, they need to improve their preoperative routines when it comes to providing written information, asking about the patient’s expectations, and psychiatric assessment.

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