Intra-articular Corticosteroid Injection Following Total Knee Arthroplasty: Is It Effective?

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Background Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) for the majority of patients with severe knee osteoarthritis provides relief of symptoms and improved function. However, there remains a subset of dissatisfied patients despite an unremarkable workup. A corticosteroid injection (CSI) is a commonly used nonsurgical treatment for painful knee osteoarthritis but its efficacy in a replaced knee remains unknown.

Methods A retrospective chart review identified primary TKA patients who subsequently received a CSI into a replaced knee from 2015 to 2016 by a single surgeon. Patients receiving a CSI underwent clinical examination, laboratory analysis to rule out infection, and radiographic evaluation before CSI. Patient variables were recorded and a patient satisfaction survey assessed the efficacy of the injection. The survey response rate was 70.1%.

Results Of the 129 responders, 82.9% remembered the injection. The average time from index arthroplasty to injection was median 5.3 months (interquartile range, 2.1-23.4) and 30.8% of patients received more than 1 injection (range, 1-5). Overall, 76.6% reported decreased pain, 57.9% reported increased motion, and 65.4% reported long-term decreased swelling. Improvement lasted greater than 1 month for 56.1% of patients, and overall 84.1% reported improvement (slight to great) in the knee following CSI. No patient developed a periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) within 1 year of injection.

Conclusion This study suggests that certain patients following TKA may benefit from a CSI. However, this should only be performed once clinical, radiographic, and laboratory examination has ruled out conditions unlikely to improve long term from a CSI.


This article was published in The Journal of Arthroplasty.

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Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc.

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Journal of Arthroplasty

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