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J Arthroplasty. 2019 Aug 19. pii: S0883-5403(19)30757-0. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2019.08.026. [Epub ahead of print]

Efficacy of Systemic Steroid Use Given One Day After Total Knee Arthroplasty for Pain and Nausea: A Randomized Controlled Study.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hanil General Hospital, Seoul, South Korea.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.



Systemic steroid has been used to control pain and nausea in total knee arthroplasty (TKA), but most studies recommend a single dose administration prior to, or during, surgery. This study aimed to determine the efficacy of administration on 1 day postoperatively.


Patients who were scheduled to undergo TKA were randomly assigned to the following groups: control group, receiving normal saline injection; group 1, receiving 10 mg dexamethasone intravenously (IV) 1 hour before surgery; group 2, receiving 0.1 mg/kg dexamethasone (IV) 24 hours after surgery; or group 3, receiving 0.2 mg/kg dexamethasone (IV) 24 hours after surgery (n = 44-46 per group). Primary outcomes were pain and nausea visual analogue scale (VAS). Secondary outcomes were analgesic administration, rescue antiemetic administration, C-reactive protein, range of motion, and complications.


Postoperative pain and nausea remained high for 48 hours post-TKA. Group 1 had lower pain and nausea VAS scores than did the control group (P < .01) for only 24 hours post-TKA. Groups 2 and 3 had lower pain and nausea VAS scores than did the control group and group 1 (P < .01) 48 hours post-TKA. Analgesic and antiemetic administration were significantly lower in groups 2 and 3 than in the control group during 48 hours after TKA. There were no differences in C-reactive protein level and range of motion, and complications were not detected.


The effect of preoperative and postoperative administration of dexamethasone for controlling pain and nausea was observed only for 24 hours. Considering that severe pain and nausea persisted for more than 48 hours after TKA, additional administration of dexamethasone at 1 day postoperatively is suggested.


Level I.


dexamethasone; postoperative nausea; postoperative pain; steroid; total knee arthroplasty


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