The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 35, Issue 3, 661 - 670

Nuisance Symptoms in Total Joint Arthroplasty: Prevalence and Impact on Patient Satisfaction

Wood, Thomas J. et al.
Hip Knee

Background

While hip and knee total joint arthroplasty (TJA) patients experience marked improvement in pain relief and function, many patients experience nuisance symptoms, which may cause discomfort and dissatisfaction.

Methods

A prospective survey study to determine type and prevalence of hip/knee TJA nuisance symptoms and impact on patient satisfaction at 1 year postoperative was conducted. The survey determined occurrence of common nuisance symptoms (eg, localized pain, swelling, instability, stiffness) and impact on overall satisfaction rated on a 10-point visual analog scale (VAS). Survey responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results

The sample comprised 545 TJA patients who completed the survey: 335 knees (61%) and 210 hips (39%). Among knees, the most commonly reported nuisance symptoms and associated impact on satisfaction included difficulty kneeling (78.2%; VAS, 4.3; SD, 3.3), limited ability to run/jump (71.6%; VAS, 3.3; SD, 3.3), and numbness around incision (46.3%; VAS, 3.8; SD, 3.3). Overall, 94% of knee patients experienced at least 1 nuisance symptom at 1 year, reporting mean satisfaction of 9/10 (SD, 1.7). Among hips, the most commonly reported nuisance symptoms and associated impact on satisfaction were limited ability to run/jump (68.6%; VAS, 3.4; SD, 3.4), thigh muscle pain (44.8%; VAS, 3; SD, 2.7), and limp when walking (37.6%; VAS, 4.1; SD, 3.2). Overall, 88% of hip patients experienced at least 1 self-reported nuisance symptom at 1 year, reporting mean satisfaction of 8.9/10 (SD, 1.7).

Conclusion

Nuisance symptoms after hip/knee TJA are very common. Despite the high prevalence, impact on overall satisfaction is minimal and patient satisfaction remains high. Careful preoperative counseling regarding prevalence is prudent and will help establish realistic expectations following TJA.

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