Determinants of return to work 12 months after total hip and knee arthroplasty

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A substantial number of patients undergoing total hip or knee arthroplasty (THA or TKA) do not or only partially return to work. This study aimed to identify differences in determinants of return to work in THA and TKA.


We conducted a prospective, observational study of working patients aged <65 years undergoing THA or TKA for osteoarthritis. The primary outcome was full versus partial or no return to work 12 months postoperatively. Factors analysed included preoperative sociodemographic and work characteristics, alongside the Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (HOOS)/Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), and Oxford Hip and Knee Scores.


Of 67 THA and 56 TKA patients, 9 (13%) and 10 (19%), respectively, returned partially and 5 (7%) and 6 (11%), respectively, did not return to work 1 year postoperatively. Preoperative factors associated with partial or no return to work in THA patients were self-employment, absence from work and a better HOOS Activities of Daily Living (ADL) subscale score, whereas only work absence was relevant in TKA patients. Type of surgery modified the impact of ADL scores on return to work.


In both THA and TKA, absence from work affected return to work, whereas self-employment and better preoperative ADL subscale scores were also associated in THA patients. The impact of ADL scores on return to work was modified by type of surgery. These results suggest that strategies aiming to influence modifiable factors should consider THA and TKA separately.

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