Chinese Medicine After Knee Replacement?

Although total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is an increasingly common treatment, management of postoperative pain continues to be a problem. Significant postoperative pain can lead to possible issues while performing early rehabilitation, and may lead to a delayed or poor recovery. Therefore, research to limit the pain experienced following TKA remains ongoing. Recent interest has been put into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a possible method of alleviating postoperative pain; however the efficacy for its use has yet to be determined.
Compared to a standard postoperative protocol, concomitant Traditional Chinese Medicine, with or without standard physical therapy, appeared to significantly reduce pain and the degree of flexion contracture immediately following total knee arthroplasty. In the absence of physical therapy, a significant effect was also observed with Traditional Chinese Medicine for range of motion.

«Traditional Chinese Medicine offers potential benefits in post-TKA pain management»
Study Type: Randomized Trial (Level of Evidence: 2)
Compares the traditional chinese medicine manipulation with rehabilitation on in-patients after total knee arthroplasty.
J Arthroplasty. 2013

The results of this study outline the potential benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine for pain control following total knee arthroplasty. As this study is one of the first to examine the short-term effects of TCM following TKA, additional evidence is required to confirm these results. Also, the duration of effect still needs to be determined, warranting an investigation with longer follow-up and larger sample sizes.

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