BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2018; 19: 201.

A systematic review of psychological interventions in total hip and knee arthroplasty

Samantha Bay,corresponding author1 Lukas Kuster,2 Neil McLean,1 Michelle Byrnes,3 and Markus Stefan Kuster2,4
Hip Knee


The current practice in elective orthopaedics does not routinely include psychological interventions despite evidence that psychological factors such as personality, anxiety, depression and negative thinking styles can influence outcomes and recovery from surgery. The objective of this paper was to review the effectiveness of psychological interventions used in conjunction with total hip (THA) and knee arthroplasty (TKA), in improving patient reported joint outcomes.


An extensive literature search was conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Search terms included psychology, interventions, and orthopaedics. Articles were included if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of psychological interventions involving active patient participation measured with patient reported joint outcomes in patients undergoing hip or knee arthroplasty.


A total of 19,489 titles were screened. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria and were included. Five of seven studies did not show improvements in patient reported outcomes after surgery. Specifically, psycho-education alone was not effective at improving patient reported joint outcomes in two out of two studies.


The current literature does not support routine psychological interventions for TKA and THA. However, it should be noted that the literature for psychological interventions in conjunction with TKA and THA is still in its infancy. This gap in the literature is surprising, considering the importance of the role of psychological factors in recovery. Further RCTs with long term follow ups, multidisciplinary involvement, and more comprehensive and focused interventions that go beyond educating patients are needed. Future studies should account for the demand effect, include measures of psychological variables to determine whether psychological interventions are more beneficial for some patients compared to others, and compare the different modes of delivery and timing of interventions to determine the optimal nature and duration of psychological interventions for TKA and THA.

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