Who Benefits From Manipulation Under Anesthesia Following Total Knee Arthroplasty?


Arthrofibrosis is a multifactorial process that results in decreased knee range of motion (ROM). Manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) is commonly regarded as the preferred initial treatment of arthrofibrosis following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). There have been no well-controlled studies demonstrating that MUA effectively increases ROM in patients who develop arthrofibrosis after TKA when compared with routine care. The purpose of this study was to determine whether MUA had any advantage over routine care in the treatment of patients who developed arthrofibrosis following TKA. The authors identified patients who underwent primary TKA at the authors’ institution between 2010 and 2014 and had flexion ≤ 100 degrees at early follow- up. Knees were grouped based on how the arthrofibrosis was treated: those who underwent MUA and those who received routine care. Knee flexion was captured preoperatively (prior to TKA), at early follow-up (prior to MUA or routine care), and at 1-year follow up. Flexion change from early follow-up to 1 year was calculated. The average flexion at 1-year follow-up was not significantly different between the two groups (106.1 ± 11.7 degrees in the routine care group versus 106.3 ± 12.8 degrees in the MUA group). The MUA group had a greater proportion of patients with flexion gains > 20 degrees at final follow-up when compared with patients who underwent routine care (56% vs. 8%, p < 0.0001). This study demonstrates that patients with decreased ROM at early follow-up after primary TKA can expect greater ROM increase at 1-year follow-up if they undergo MUA compared with patients who undergo routine care. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 33(1):033-036, 2024) Key words: total knee arthroplasty, restricted range of motion, arthrofibrosis, manipulation under anesthesia

Matthew L. Brown, MD; Kenneth M. Vaz, MD; Julie C. McCauley, MPH; Laura May, RN; and Clifford W. Colwell, Jr., MD