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Arthroscopy. 2017 Dec;33(12):2231-2237. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2017.08.245.

Brake Reaction Time After Ankle and Subtalar Arthroscopy.

Author information

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.A.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.A.. Electronic address:
Department of Orthopaedics, Phramongkutklao Hospital and College of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand.
Department of Orthopaedics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.



To evaluate preoperative and postoperative brake reaction time (BRT) of patients undergoing right-sided ankle or subtalar arthroscopy.


Patients who underwent right-sided ankle or subtalar arthroscopy were evaluated between May 2015 and February 2017. The inclusion criteria consisted of patients older than 18 years who possessed a valid driver's license, primarily drove vehicles that had automatic transmission, and used their right foot to depress the brake pedal. Patients were excluded if they had medical problems that precluded safe and legal driving. An automotive simulation device was used to calculate BRT from all participants. Each patient underwent testing on a computerized driving simulator preoperatively and then postoperatively at 2, 6, and 12 weeks or until their BRT was equal to or less than 0.7 seconds. BRT was defined as the time from stop stimulus until brake depression of 5%.


The study enrolled 17 patients and 19 age-matched normal subjects. Patients showed an average BRT at 2 weeks postoperatively (0.57 ± 0.06 seconds) that was greater than the BRT in the control group (0.55 ± 0.06 seconds, P = .84) and lower than the patients' preoperative BRT (0.59 ± 0.06 seconds, P = .08). These BRTs were lower than the 0.70-second BRT threshold for safe driving in the United States.


The results of this study show that emergency BRT after right-sided ankle or subtalar arthroscopy improves by 2 weeks after surgery and is under the previously set benchmark of 0.7 seconds. In patients who undergo right-sided ankle or subtalar arthroscopic procedures, it is not unsafe to drive a vehicle at 2 weeks.


Level III, retrospective comparative study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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