Demographics, Surgical Technique, Anesthesia Play a Role in Pain Levels

In two studies presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, researchers from the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York reported on their investigation of risk for postoperative pain from knee replacement surgery. The team found that middle-aged women with rheumatoid arthritis, or arthritis resulting from an injury are among the patients most likely to experience serious pain following the procedure.

The two studies examined demographic and surgical variables respectively.  Demographic risk factors for postoperative pain included being female; being between the ages of 45 and 65; having post-traumatic arthritis spurred by an injury, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis; being obese; and having a higher level of pain at the time of hospital admission. Procedural risk factors included having general anesthesia as opposed to an epidural or spinal block, longer tourniquet time , more blood loss, and having a large kneecap. Researchers said the results pointed to both the necessity for technical accuracy, particularly with respect to joint alignment and patella sizing,  and for adequate preoperative discussion with patients in high risk groups.

Read a news report about the study findings here.

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