Persistent pain following knee arthroplasty

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Background and objective

The prevalence of persistent pain after orthopaedic surgery has been the subject of only few studies and the risk factors for persistent pain have been evaluated even more rarely. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the degree and the risk factors of persistent pain after knee arthroplasty.


The prevalence of persistent postoperative pain after knee replacement was evaluated with a questionnaire in a large, register-based cross-sectional prevalence study. The main hypothesis was that the type of operation (primary, bilateral, revision) would influence the prevalence of persistent postoperative pain. Logistic regression analysis was performed to test the hypothesis and to find other possible risk factors for the development of persistent pain.


The total number of patients was 855. The operation was a primary arthroplasty in 648 patients (75.7%), a bilateral arthroplasty in 137 patients (21.1%) and a revision arthroplasty in 70 patients (8.2%). The response rate was 65.7%. The type of operation was not associated with the prevalence of persistent pain, but the degree of early postoperative pain was the strongest risk factor. If the degree of pain during the first postoperative week was from moderate to intolerable, the risk for the development of persistent pain was three to 10 times higher compared with patients complaining of mild pain during the same period. Other risk factors were the long duration of preoperative pain and female sex.


Intensity of early postoperative pain and delayed surgery increase the risk of the persistent pain after knee arthroplasty.

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