In a prospective multicentre study we investigated variations in pain management used by knee arthroplasty surgeons in order to compare the differences in pain levels among patients undergoing total knee replacements (TKR), and to compare the effectiveness of pain management protocols. The protocols, peri-operative levels of pain and patient satisfaction were investigated in 424 patients who underwent TKR in 14 hospitals. The protocols were highly variable and peri-operative pain levels varied substantially, particularly during the first two post-operative days. Differences in levels of pain were greatest during the night after TKR, when visual analogue scores ranged from 16.9 to 94.3 points.
Of the methods of managing pain, the combined use of peri-articular infiltration and nerve blocks provided better pain relief than other methods during the first two post-operative days. Patients managed with peri-articular injection plus nerve block, and epidural analgesia were more likely to have higher satisfaction at two weeks after TKR. This study highlights the need to establish a consistent pain management strategy after TKR.
This research was supported by Pfizer Pharmaceutical Korea Limited. The authors would like to thank the TKR pain management study group members who participated in this study.
Although none of the authors has received or will receive benefits for personal or professional use from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article, benefits have been or will be received but will be directed solely to a research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other non-profit organisation with which one or more of the authors are associated.
- Received January 18, 2012.
- Accepted July 6, 2012.
- ©2012 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery