General practitioners play a vital and increasing part in the perioperative care of patients undergoing total knee replacement (TKR). Rising obesity rates, sports-related injuries and an ageing population are likely to result in a sharp increase in TKR procedures within the next decade, combined with higher cost concerns. Rehabilitation practices that show economic efficiency and produce superior patient outcomes are a major focus of current research.
The aim of this article is to provide an evidence-based summary of current rapid recovery protocols following TKR surgery.
Rapid recovery protocols have been shown to be effective at reducing length of stay, postoperative pain and complications without compromising patient safety. These rapid recovery protocols include same-day mobilisation; blood preservation protocols; self-directed pedalling-based rehabilitation; and individualised targeted discharge to self-directed, outpatient therapist–directed or inpatient therapist–directed rehabilitation. Low-cost self-directed rehabilitation should be considered usual care, with inpatient rehabilitation reserved for the minority of at-risk patients.