Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation After Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of the use of the neuromuscular electrical stimulation after total knee arthroplasty.

Design

The study used a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (MEDLINE, PubMed, Cochrane Library, and PEDro) using Patient Population or Problem, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes, Setting approach to formulate the research question, controlled terms, and Boolean operators. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were defined in advance. “Neuromuscular electrical stimulation” and “total knee arthroplasty” were used as keywords. The overall risk of bias was determined according to the following: random sequence generation, concealment, blinding mass of participants and staff, commissioning blind assessment results, incomplete data, and loans received.

Results

Of the 36 identified studies, six were included in the review (496 participants). In these studies, one group of patients followed a rehabilitation protocol (control group) and the other followed a rehabilitation program plus a session of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (neuromuscular electrical stimulation group). Patients of neuromuscular electrical stimulation groups got the best scores (timed up and go test, stair climbing test, and walk test). Neuromuscular electrical stimulation benefits were strong in the first postoperative weeks/months and gradually diminished.

Conclusions

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation allows a slightly better functional recovery after total knee arthroplasty, especially in the first period, with more evident benefits in patients with a severe lack of muscular activation. Nevertheless, there is no difference at medium-long term.

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