Tag: knee replacement surgery

Electroacupuncture Spares Opioids for Knee Replacement Pain Relief

Source: Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

Patients who have electroacupuncture during total knee replacement surgery report less pain and need far fewer opioids to manage their discomfort. In the study, 65% of patients who received acupuncture during surgery were able to have a low-dose or opioid-free postoperative experience, compared to 9% of patients outside of the study.

The results of the study were presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2021 annual meeting

“Total knee replacements are one of the most common operative procedures in the United States and often very painful, so there’s a great need to explore non-opioid pain relief techniques for this type of surgery,” said lead author Stephanie Cheng, MD, DABMA, assistant attending anaesthesiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery and assistant professor of clinical anaesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine. “Acupuncture is extremely safe and can help reduce pain with few unwanted side effects, but it has not been well researched as part of surgical anesthesia.”

The study enrolled 41 patients who had primary total knee replacement, all of whom received the institution’s standard opioid-sparing multimodal analgesic protocol, with the addition of electroacupuncture, which is a modified form of traditional acupuncture that applies a small electric current to thin needles that are inserted at known acupuncture points on the body. The acupuncture was administered during surgery by Dr Cheng, who is board-certified in medical acupuncture, to eight specific points in the ear to provide targeted pain relief in the knee.

With the addition of acupuncture, the majority of patients had reduced postoperative opioid use, compared to historical controls, while 65% of patients either maintained a low-dose opioid regimen of 15 oxycodone pills or less (57.5%) or remained completely opioid-free (7.5%) from induction of anaesthesia to 30 days post-surgery. Historically, only 9% of patients outside of the study were able to maintain a low-dose or opioid-free regimen post-surgery. Thirty days after surgery, all patients discontinued opioid use.

“Our study shows that if a trained medical acupuncturist is available to perform acupuncture in the operating room, it can help patients with postoperative pain recovery,” said Dr Cheng. “Most studies fail to incorporate nontraditional techniques, such as acupuncture, to help decrease the dependence on opioid medications for postoperative pain control.”

Low-dose perioperative opioid consumption is key to mitigating the opioid epidemic and opioid misuse by patients. Dr Cheng pointed out that with acupuncture being commonly used outside of the hospital as an effective therapy for pain management and treatment for a range of health issues and symptoms, it’s time to consider its benefits inside the hospital as well. “Additional research is needed to further define acupuncture’s effects and encourage its use in all aspects of disease treatment.”

Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists

Insights into Stiffness Prognosis of Knee Replacements

Phot by Nino Liverani on Unsplash

A new study could help physicians better manage patients who experience debilitating stiffness after they undergo knee replacement surgery.

Researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City presented their findings at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) 2021 annual meeting

Stiffness after knee replacement surgery, or total knee arthroplasty (TKA), is a rare but frustrating complication, affecting between 1% and 7% of patients who receive the artificial joints. “Why some people and not others experience limited range of motion after TKA is unknown,” said Ioannis Gkiatas, MD, PhD, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Ioannina, in Greece, and the first author of the new study.

“The goal of the study was to see if we can help physicians predict how patients will do following the revision surgery, using information gathered before and after the procedure, to shape their postoperative treatment plans,” said Dr. Gkiatas. The work was conducted under the supervision of Peter K. Sculco, MD, hip and knee surgeon at HSS, who is leading a large, ongoing study of patient outcomes after revision TKA for reduced range of motion after index TKA.

The researchers followed 19 men and women who underwent revision TKA at HSS to try to improve stiffness in patients with prior TKA. Patients underwent range of motion testing before the procedure and at six weeks, six months and one year after the operation.

The range of motion of healthy knees ranges from full extension (0 degrees) through the sitting position (90 degrees) to kneeling (approximately 140 degrees). All patients gained an average of 28 degrees of motion after the revision surgery. The benefit mostly appeared in the first six weeks after the operation, then gradually tapered off over time.

Patients with the least restricted mobility had the greatest gains from the revision surgery. Patients who could able to bend their affected knee more than 82 degrees before TKA revision had an 80 percent chance of maintaining that level of mobility, or gaining flexibility in the joint, after the operation and throughout the follow-up period.

However, two-thirds of patients whose range of motion was less than 64 degrees prior to surgery experienced regression in that mobility during the study, never attaining the 82-degree threshold.

“Although 82 degrees doesn’t seem much more than 64 degrees, for the patient it’s a significant difference. With 82 degrees you can perform the basic activities of everyday life,” Dr Gkiatas said. “With these new data, if at six weeks a patient reaches 82 degrees of motion in their knee, we can say they have an 80 percent chance of at least maintaining this range of motion one year after surgery.” 

The study results provide surgeons with the information needed to educate patients with stiff TKA on expected range of motion outcomes after revision surgery: Less than 60 degrees is a poor prognostic finding. Additionally, when patients return for their six-week appointment after revision TKA, and have less than 82 degrees of motion, additional pharmacologic or manual knee manipulation treatments should be done since this patient is at a high risk for range of motion regression and inferior clinical outcome at one-year post-revision.

Source: EurekaAlert!