The Knee, ISSN: 0968-0160, Vol: 17, Issue: 1, Page: 19-22

Return to work following knee arthroplasty

J. A.J. Foote; H. K. Smith; S. C. Jonas; A. E. Weale; R. Greenwood
A retrospective study of a consecutive cohort of 109 patients, under the age of 60, who had either a Patellofemoral replacement (PFR), Unicompartmental replacement (UKR) or a Total knee replacement (TKR). They were operated on by two senior surgeons between 2002 and 2006 at the Avon Orthopaedic Centre in Bristol. The aim of this study was to look at the effect of knee replacement on the employment status of this group of patients. Data were collected from patient’s hospital records and a questionnaire regarding occupational status was sent postoperatively to the patients. Statistical analysis showed that our groups were similar which meant that further comparison between them was valid.
Eighty-two percent of the patients who were working prior to surgery and who had either a TKR or UKR were able to return to work postoperatively. Only 54% of those who had a PFR were able to return to work and this was statistically significant when compared with patients in the other two groups p = 0.047. The median time for return to work postoperatively for the study population was 12 weeks. Those in the PFR group took significantly longer to do so (20 weeks) compared to those who had either a UKR (11 weeks) or TKR (12 weeks) p = 0.01. Patient’s subjective opinion as to their ability to work following knee arthroplasty was worse in the PFR group p = 0.049.
This is the first study to compare employment status following Patellofemoral, Unicompartmental knee and Total Knee Replacement. TKR and UKR are effective in returning patients under 60 years old to active employment and this is typically 3 months following surgery. Patients who had a PFR did not experience the same benefits in terms of numbers returning to work, time to do so and their subjective opinion as to their ability to cope with normal duties.

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