To compare the long-term outcome of patients diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome–type 1 (CRPS-1) after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) with those of uncomplicated TKA knees and preoperative osteoarthritic knees.
Medical records of 1280 patients who underwent TKA for osteoarthritis were retrospectively reviewed; 8 were diagnosed as having symptoms and signs consistent with CRPS after TKA. Patients with primary inflammatory arthritis, signs of component loosening, malpositioning, or of infected arthroplasty were excluded. No patient had signs of CRPS prior to operative intervention. The 8 patients were compared with 2 groups of age- and sex-matched controls: uncomplicated TKA knees and preoperative osteoarthritic knees. Patients were followed up for a mean of 54 (range, 13–111) months and their range of movement, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, SF-36 questionnaire scores, and Knee Society scores were assessed and compared.
After appropriate treatment, most CRPS complicated patients had similar scores on SF-36, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, and Knee Society scores when compared with uncomplicated TKA patients. Scores for CRPS complicated patients were significantly improved when compared with preoperative osteoarthritic patients. The incidence of CRPS after TKA was 0.7%.
When managed early, patients complicated with CRPS after TKA have a similar prognosis to patients with uncomplicated TKA.