Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: January 2011 - Volume 469 - Issue 1 - p 82–86 doi: 10.1007/s11999-010-1507-1 Symposium: Papers Presented at the Annual Meetings of the Knee Society

When Can I Drive?: Brake Response Times After Contemporary Total Knee Arthroplasty

Dalury, David, F., MD1, 2, a; Tucker, Kimberly, K., MD3; Kelley, Todd, C., MD4

Background After right total knee arthroplasty (TKA), patients are usually eager to return to driving. Previous studies suggest 6 weeks postsurgery is a safe time. However, recent advances in surgical technique, pain management, and rehabilitation have theoretically improved recovery after TKA.


Questions/purposes We therefore determined if (1) the timeframe for return to driving, as determined by attainment of preoperative braking levels, would be shorter after contemporary right TKA than that reported previously for a traditional TKA; and (2) gender or age influence recovery of baseline response time.


Methods Brake response times for all 29 patients undergoing right-sided TKA between January 17, 2008, and January 29, 2009, were scheduled to be measured by a trained occupational therapist before surgery and at 4, 6, and 8 weeks after surgery. For each patient, testing was discontinued once the preoperative level was achieved.


Results All patients returned to baseline braking levels by 4 weeks after surgery. Gender and age did not influence recovery times.


Conclusions If other requirements for driving are met, surgeons may consider allowing patients treated with contemporary right TKAs to drive 4 weeks after surgery.

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