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J Arthroplasty. 2012 Jun;27(6):851-6. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2012.01.011. Epub 2012 Mar 3.

Effect of immediate postoperative physical therapy on length of stay for total joint arthroplasty patients.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232, USA.


The isolated effect of physical therapy (PT) on total joint arthroplasty hospital length of stay (LOS) has not been studied. A prospective cohort study was conducted on 136 primary total joint arthroplasties (58 hips, 78 knees). The LOS was determined by the operative start time until the time of discharge. On postoperative day (POD) 0, 60 joints remained in bed, 51 moved to a chair, and 25 received PT (22 ambulated, 3 moved to a chair). Length of stay differed for patients receiving PT on POD 0 (2.8 ± 0.8 days) compared with POD 1 (3.7 ± 1.8 days) (P = .02). There was no difference in PT treatment based on nausea/vomiting, pain levels, or discharge location. Isolated PT intervention on POD 0 shortened hospital LOS, regardless of the intervention performed.

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