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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006 May;446:193-200.

Surgical treatment and customized rehabilitation for stiff knee arthroplasties.

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Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21215, USA.


Treating patients who have arthrofibrotic or stiff knees after total knee arthroplasty can be difficult. Treatment with arthroscopic d├ębridement, arthrolysis of adhesions with polyethylene spacer exchange, or complete revision arthroplasty often has led to less than optimal range of motion and functional outcomes. We used a combination of surgical arthrolysis and an intensive postoperative rehabilitation protocol, including functional bracing, to treat this condition. We then retrospectively reviewed 18 knees in 17 patients who had stiff knees after total knee arthroplasty with no other detectable clinical or radiographic abnormalities, at a mean followup of 30 months. Seventeen knees (94%) had gains in knee range of motion with a mean increased range of motion of 31 degrees. Although 16 of 17 patients had clinical improvement and were satisfied with the procedure, only (2/3) of the patients (12 of 18 patients) had excellent or good Knee Society objective scores. This combined surgical and rehabilitation method can lead to an increased range of motion. All patients improved clinically, but good functional results were less predictable. The authors think treatment of these difficult knees should be aimed at soft tissue operative releases supplemented by an intensive rehabilitation protocol.


Therapeutic study, level IV (prospective study). See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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