Rehabilitation parameters in total knee replacement patients undergoing epidural vs. conventional analgesia

A. B. Pati, D. C. Perme, M. Trail, P. K. Henry, W. J. Bryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Epidural analgesia for total knee replacement (TKR) surgery has been proposed as a means of enhancing patient comfort, thereby expediting rehabilitation and reducing hospital stay. This study was done to determine differences in rehabilitation parameters of range of motion and mobility in patients receiving epidural vs. conventional (intravenous) analgesia following TKR surgery. Chart reviews were done of 52 patients who underwent consecutive unilateral TKR, with 26 patients in each analgesia group. There were 21 males and 31 females, ages 24-88 years (median 65), with diagnoses of osteoarthritis (45), rheumatoid arthritis (4), and other (3). The surgeon, procedure, type of prosthesis, and physical therapy protocol were the same for all subjects. Demographics, range of motion, distance walked, assistance required for gait and transfers, assistive device, and exercise competence data were studied at the first postoperative day and at time of discharge. No significant difference was found in the length of stay at the p < .05 level. Significant differences at the first postoperative day favored the epidural group: in knee flexion range-median difference was 0.26 rad [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.09-0.52, p < .05] ie., 15° (95% CI: 5-30); in total range of motion-median difference was 0.30 rad (95% CI: 0.09-0.58, p < .05), ie., 17° (95% CI: 5-33); and in assistance required for gait and transfers (p < .05). At discharge, the epidural group required significantly less assistance (p < .05). There was a trend toward greater walking distance in the epidural group, who walked a median of 15.2 m farther than the conventional analgesia group. In terms of rehabilitation of the TKR patient, epidural analgesia appears to expedite joint mobility and facilitate transfers and gait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-92
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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