The Impact of Psychological Factors on the Physical Recovery of Patients After Total Joint Replacement

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Shilpi Singh, Abha Rani Sinha, Ashish Singh, Lavanya Singh, Vineela Chadalavada


Introduction: Globally, 5.2 million people suffer from osteoarthritis (OA) of the large joints, and most patients consider joint replacement surgery (TJR) as a treatment option.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine whether psychological factors have an impact on functional recovery after total joint arthroplasty.

Methods: This is a prospective, nonrandomised, single-centred study conducted at an orthopaedic hospital in participants undergoing TJR surgery. The following measures were used to assess the mental status of the patients: The Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scale, the Short Form-36 (SF-36), and the Brief Symptom Inventory 18 (BSI-18). The measures were recorded preoperatively and approximately 6 and 12 weeks after surgery. The data were analysed using SPSS 23.0.

Results: There was no significant difference in WOMAC scores between total hip replacement and total knee replacement surgeries, but an improvement was seen from preoperative (T0) to 12-week scores (T2) with large effect sizes. The higher mental health scores are associated with better physical health outcomes in patients who underwent TKR or THR surgeries.

Conclusions: There was a remarkable improvement in disease-specific variables following both surgery types, which is consistent with existing research. Most variables were not different before surgery, so comparisons of changes were justified. TJR patients can benefit from the involvement of a psychologist in their care and experience better recovery and surgery outcomes. Results of the study indicate that psychological well-being can significantly affect the overall recovery process and functional outcomes of TJR patients. Having a psychologist on the care team for TJR patients can offer valuable support for addressing mental health concerns and fostering positive recovery.

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