Knee Replacement Recovery: New Study Shows that Many Patients are in Severe Pain
Knee replacement surgery recovery is a big deal. After all, the surgery involves the amputation of the knee joint and then the insertion of a prosthesis. As a result, knee replacement has been associated with side effects like a massive increase in heart attack risk right after the surgery. In addition, I’ve heard stories from patients for years about how their knee replacement recovery was hard. Most patients who have had this big surgery tell me that they weren’t really prepared for the pain and long recovery time. Now a new study shines some light on that recovery. The authors administered questionnaires to 174 patients who had undergone knee replacements at 2 weeks after their surgery. Participants rated pain expectation and severity, use of pain medications and alternative pain control methods, side-effects, walking and exercise times, perceptions of their pain medications, adequacy of pain management information provided and satisfaction with pain relief. [88 (52%)] reported that the worst pain period occurred during the first 2 weeks at home. During the first 2 weeks at home, the average pain was ‘severe/extreme’ for one quarter [40 (23%)] of the participants and more than half [92 (54%)] experienced severe pain at least some of the time. Many participants sought further medical help for their pain. Adequate information on non-medication based methods for pain relief was reported by only half of the patients [47%]. The upshot? Knee replacement surgery hurts a lot and it looks like the medical profession isn’t doing a great job helping many patients manage this severe pain.