HSS Journal

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 182–189

Etiology and Surgical Interventions for Stiff Total Knee Replacements


    • Department of Orthopedic SurgeryHospital for Special Surgery
  • Alejandro Leali
    • Department of Orthopedic SurgeryHospital for Special Surgery
  • Steven Haas
    • Department of Orthopedic SurgeryHospital for Special Surgery

DOI: 10.1007/s11420-007-9053-4

Cite this article as:
González Della Valle, A., Leali, A. & Haas, S. HSS Jrnl (2007) 3: 182. doi:10.1007/s11420-007-9053-4


Stiffness is the most prevalent early local complication of primary total knee replacement, affecting approximately 6 to 7% of patients undergoing surgery. The definition of stiffness after total knee replacement in terms of restriction of the arc of motion has evolved in the last 2 decades as patients and physicians expect better postoperative functional outcomes. Gentle manipulation under anesthesia within 3 to 4 months of surgery improves the range of motion in most patients. However, approximately 1% of patients, including those in which the window for manipulation has passed, will require further surgical interventions, which may include arthroscopy with lysis of adhesions, open debridement with exchange of the polyethylene insert, or revision of one or more components. This review will focus on describing the etiology of the problem and the results of the different surgical interventions for stiffness after total knee replacement.

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© Hospital for Special Surgery 2007