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Knee. 2015 Mar;22(2):126-30. doi: 10.1016/j.knee.2014.12.010. Epub 2014 Dec 31.

Tourniquet versus no tourniquet on knee-extension strength early after fast-track total knee arthroplasty; a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

Dept of Anesthesiology, Hässleholm Hospital and Lund University, Box 351, 281 25 Hässleholm, Sweden. Electronic address:
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Research-Copenhagen (PMR-C), Dept of Physical Therapy, Denmark; Dept of Orthopedic Surgery, Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Clinical Research Centre, Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Lundbeck Centre for Fast-track Hip and Knee Arthroplasty, Denmark; Dept of Surgical Pathophysiology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100, Denmark.
Dept of Orthopedic Surgery, Hässleholm Hospital and Lund University, Box 351, 281 25 Hässleholm, Sweden.



Thigh tourniquet is commonly used in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) but may contribute to pain and muscle damage. Consequently, the reduction in knee-extension strength after TKA may be caused by quadriceps muscle ischaemia underneath the cuff.


To examine if not using a thigh tourniquet during surgery was more effective than using a thigh tourniquet in preserving knee-extension strength 48 h after fast-track TKA.


A total of 64 patients undergoing TKA were randomized (1:1) to the use of tourniquet (T-group) or no tourniquet (NT-group). In the T-group the tourniquet cuff pressure was based on the patient's systolic pressure and a margin of 100 mm Hg. It was inflated immediately before surgery and deflated as soon as surgery ended. The primary outcome was the change in knee-extension strength from pre-surgery to 48 h after surgery (primary end point). Secondary outcomes were pain, nausea, length of hospital stay (LOS) and periarticular swelling.


Knee-extension strength 48 h after surgery was substantially reduced by about 90% in both groups, with no statistically significant difference between groups (mean difference 1.5 N/kg, 95% CI 1.3-1.6). Among the secondary outcomes, the T-group had less bleeding during surgery (56 vs. 182 mL, P<0.01) compared with the NT-group. There was no difference in postoperative haemoglobin levels, pain, nausea, LOS or periarticular swelling between the groups.


Not using a thigh tourniquet during surgery was not superior in preserving knee-extension strength at the primary endpoint 48 h after fast-track TKA, compared to using a tourniquet.



Complication; Quadriceps muscle function; Total knee arthroplasty; Tourniquet

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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