Continuous passive motion following cartilage surgery: does a common protocol exist?

Jonathan M. Karnes, Joshua D. Harris, Michael J. Griesser, David C. Flanigan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Continuous passive motion (CPM) devices have the potential to improve the histological content as well as the rate and volume of chondrogenesis in repair tissue following chondral injury. However, clinical evidence is lacking to support broad implementation of CPM following cartilage restoration procedures. We searched PubMed, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and Cochrane for such terms as knee, continuous passive motion, CPM, ACI, ACT, autologous chondrocyte implantation, autologous chondrocyte transplantation, microfracture, marrow-stimulation technique, mosaicplasty, osteochondral autograft, and osteochondral allograft. Inclusion criteria were all English-language studies of human subjects, evidence levels I to IV, reporting the use of CPM following cartilage repair or restoration surgery in the knee. One hundred and seven studies met inclusion criteria. Sixty-three studies reported the use of CPM following autologous chondrocyte implantation; 28 reported the use of CPM following microfracture; 13 reported the use of CPM following osteochondral autograft; and 15 reported the use of CPM following osteochondral allograft (several studies reported > 1 type of cartilage procedure, which explains why the sum of all studies reporting a particular procedure [119] is greater than the number of studies included in the review [107]). Of the 5723 patients included, 60.8% were treated with autologous chondrocyte implantation, 23.1% were treated with microfracture, 6.4% were treated with osteochondral autograft, and 9.7% were treated with osteochondral allograft. Of the 6612 total defects, 5043 (76.3%) were tibiofemoral and 1569 (23.7%) were patellofemoral. Most reports of CPM use after cartilage restoration procedures did not include specific information on how it was implemented. Overall, the description of CPM protocols in published knee articular cartilage surgery studies was disappointing. The majority of studies did not describe common variables such as the duration of CPM therapy, the initiation of CPM therapy, and the initial range of motion used. The most commonly prescribed parameters within a CPM regimen are initiated on the first postoperative day, with an initial range-of-motion of 0 to 30 degrees and a frequency of 1 cycle per minute, and for 6 to 8 hours daily over 6 weeks. The lack of consistent standardized reporting of postoperative CPM protocols provides an impetus to researchers and clinicians to more clearly define and describe their use following knee articular surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalThe Physician and sportsmedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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