Purpose: The use of an intraoperative tourniquet for total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a common practice. However, the effectiveness and safety are still questionable. A systematic review was conducted to examine that whether using a tourniquet in TKA was effective without increasing the risk of complications.
Methods: A comprehensive literature search was done in PubMed Medicine, Embase, and other internet database. The review work and the following meta-analysis were processed to evaluate the role of tourniquet in TKA.
Results: Eight randomized controlled trials and three high-quality prospective studies involving 634 knees and comparing TKA with and without the use of a tourniquet were included in this analysis. The results demonstrated that using a tourniquet could decrease the measured blood loss but could not decrease the calculated blood loss, which indicated actual blood loss. Patients managed with a tourniquet might have higher risks of thromboembolic complications. Using the tourniquet with late release after wound closure could shorten the operation time; whereas early release did not show this benefit.
Conclusions: The current evidence suggested that using tourniquet in TKA may save time but may not reduce the blood loss. Due to the higher risks of thromboembolic complications, we should use a tourniquet in TKA with caution.