Above-knee versus below-knee stockings in total knee arthroplasty

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Graduated compression stockings are frequently used following arthroplasty surgery for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis. There are often strongly held beliefs regarding whether below-knee or above-knee stockings should be used in total knee joint replacement. Many surgeons argue that below-knee stockings are more likely to induce wound complications because of increased swelling above the stocking and the elastic causing localised pressure on the wound.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

This study is a prospective comparison of above and below-knee stockings in patients undergoing total knee joint replacement. A total of 50 patients were recruited and studied – 23 patients in the above-knee stocking group and 24 in the below-knee group. Swelling around the knee was measured over the course of an in-patient stay, together with wound complication rates and patients' preference.

RESULTS

No statistical difference was found between the groups and no difference in wound complication rates was determined.

CONCLUSIONS

Below-knee stockings are safe following total knee replacement and are preferred by patients.

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