Rapid Rehabilitation Alternative
Although knee replacement surgery is one of the most common and successful surgical procedures performed, there is the potential to improve results that allow patients to recovery sooner versus traditional knee replacement surgery. Advancements in surgical technologies have allowed surgeons to adopt alternative or minimally invasive approaches to knee replacement surgery which include reducing or eliminating the use of a tourniquet during the procedure.
Tourniquet use in knee replacement surgery
In traditional knee replacement surgery, tourniquets are routinely used to reduce blood loss and provide efficiency for the surgeon. However, with advancements in surgical technologies that reduce blood loss, questions have been raised regarding the safety of tourniquet use, and whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks.
According to the American Academy of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS), 96% of surgeons are still using a tourniquet during their knee replacement surgeries¹. Moreover, a survey of patients found that only 32% were aware that a tourniquet would be used during the operation, and 97% of those patients wanted more information regarding the use of tourniquets once they were informed.²
Minimize tourniquet time. Maximize your recovery.
Recent data has shown that patients undergoing knee replacement surgery without the use of a tourniquet were found to have/be:
- Five times less likely to develop blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism³
- Significantly lower risks of complications, such as wound infections4
- Lower risks of developing perioperative nerve injury5
- Less bruising and swelling following surgery6
- A trend towards a shorter hospital stay7
- Greater quadriceps strength three months after surgery8
- Less requirements for pain medication postoperatively9
How you benefit
More specifically, a 2012 study proved that patients who underwent knee replacement surgery without the use of a tourniquet had 11° better range of motion at two years following surgery—that difference could prevent you from riding a bike or walking up and down the stairs. Additionally, the improvement in range of motion was dependent upon whether or not a tourniquet was used in those patients.10
To learn if you are eligible for a rapid rehabilitation alternative
without the use of a tourniquet, please consult a physician.
- AAHKS 2016 Practice Norms Poll, November 2016.
- Ahmed I, Fraser L, Sprowson A, Wall P. Tourniquets for the Use of Total Knee Arthroplasty: Are Patients Aware of the Risks? Annals of Orthopedics & Rheumatology 2016; 4 (3): 1071
- Parmet JL, Horrow JC, Berman AT, Miller F, Pharo G, Collins L. The incidence of large venous emboli during total knee arthroplasty without pneumatic tourniquet use. Anesth Analg. 1998;2(87):439–444.
- Zhang W, Li N, Chen S, Tan Y, Al-Aidaros M, and Chen L. The effects of a tourniquet used in total knee arthroplasty: a meta-analysis. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2014, 9:13
- Adam K. Jacob, M.D.,* Carlos B. Mantilla, M.D., Ph.D.,† Hans P. Sviggum, M.D., Darrell R. Schroeder, M.S.,§ Mark W. Pagnano, M.D., James R. Hebl, M.D. Perioperative Nerve Injury after Total Knee Arthroplasty: Regional Anesthesia Risk during a 20-Year Cohort Study. Anesthesiology 2011; 114:311–7
- Li B, Wen Y, Wu H, Qian Q, Lin X, Zhao H. The effect of tourniquet use on hidden blood loss in total knee arthroplasty. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) (2009) 33: 1263-1268
- Liu D, Graham D, Gillies K, Gillies M. Effects of tourniquet use on quadriceps function and pain in total knee arthroplasty. Knee Surgery & Related Research 2014;26(4):207-213
- Dennis D, Kittelson A, Yang C, Miner T, Kim R, Stevens-Lapsley J. Does tourniquet use in TKA affect recovery of lower extremity strength and function? A randomized trial. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (2016) 474: 69-77
- Ejaz A, Laursen A, Kappel A, Laursen M, Jakobsen T, Rasmussen S, and Nielsen P. Faster recovery without the use of a tourniquet in total knee arthroplasty: A randomized study of 70 patients. Acta Orthopaedica 2014; 85 (4): 422-426
- Ledin H, Aspenberg P, and Good L. Tourniquet use in total knee replacement does not improve fixation, but appears to reduce final range of motion: A randomized RSA study involving 50 patients. Acta Orthopaedica 2012; 83 (5): 499-503