Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of outpatient physiotherapy after knee replacement for osteoarthritis: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Vikki Wylde, Neil Artz, Elsa Marques, Erik Lenguerrand, Samantha Dixon, Andrew Beswick, Amanda Burston, James Murray, Tarique Parwez, Ashley Blom, Rachael Gooberman-Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
641 Downloads (Pure)


BackgroundPrimary total knee replacement is a common operation performed to provide pain relief and restore functional ability. Inpatient physiotherapy is routinely provided after surgery to enhance recovery prior to hospital discharge. However, international variation exists in the provision of outpatient physiotherapy after hospital discharge. While evidence indicates that outpatient physiotherapy can improve short-term function, the longer-term benefits are unknown. The aim of this randomised controlled trial is to evaluate the long-term clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a six week group-based outpatient physiotherapy intervention following knee replacement. 

Methods/Design256 patients waiting for knee replacement because of osteoarthritis will be recruited from two orthopaedic centres. Participants randomised to the usual care group (n=128) will be given a booklet about exercise and referral for physiotherapy if deemed appropriate by the clinical care team. The intervention group (n=128) will receive the same usual care and additionally be invited to attend a group-based outpatient physiotherapy class starting at 6 weeks after surgery. The 1-hour class will be run on a weekly basis over 6 weeks and will involve task-orientated and individualised exercises. 

The primary outcome will be the Lower Extremity Functional Scale at 12 months post-operative. Secondary outcomes include: quality of life, knee pain and function, depression, anxiety and satisfaction. Data collection will be by questionnaire prior to surgery and 3, 6 and 12 months after surgery and will include a resource use questionnaire to enable a trial-based economic evaluation. Trial participation and satisfaction with the classes will be evaluated through structured telephone interviews. The primary statistical and economic analyses will be conducted on an intention-to-treat basis with and without imputation of missing data. The primary economic result will estimate the incremental cost per quality adjusted life year gained from this intervention from a National Health Services (NHS) and personal social services perspective. 

Discussion This research aims to benefit patients and the NHS by providing evidence on the long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of outpatient physiotherapy after knee replacement. If the intervention is found to be effective and cost-effective, implementation into clinical practice could lead to improvement in patients’ outcomes and improved healthcare resource efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Article number289
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2016

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research


  • Total knee replacement
  • physiotherapy
  • function
  • randomised controlled trial
  • economic evaluation


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