Role of telerehabilitation in patients following total knee arthroplasty: Evidence from a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

J Telemed Telecare. 2017 Feb;23(2):339-346. doi: 10.1177/1357633X16628996. Epub 2016 Jul 9.


Introduction Increased physical activity and functional ability are the goals of total knee replacement surgery. Therefore, adequate rehabilitation is required for the recovery of patients after discharge from hospital following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). This systematic literature review aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of home telerehabilitation in patients who underwent TKA. Methods Studies published in the English language between 2000 and 2014 were retrieved from Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane databases using relevant search strategies. Two researchers independently reviewed the studies as per the Cochrane methodology for systematic literature review. We considered telerehabilitation sessions as those that were conducted by experienced physiotherapists, using videoconferencing to patients' homes via an internet connection. The outcomes assessed included: knee movement (knee extension and flexion); quadriceps muscle strength; functional assessment (the timed up-and-go test); and assessment of pain, stiffness, and functional capacity using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index and visual analogue scale for pain. Results In total, 160 potentially relevant studies were screened. Following the screening of studies as abstracts and full-text publications, six primary publications (four randomized controlled trials, one non-randomized controlled trial, and one single-arm trial) were included in the review. Patients experienced high levels of satisfaction with the use of telerehabilitation alone. There was no significant difference in change in active knee extension and flexion in the home telerehabilitation group as compared to the control group (mean difference (MD) -0.52, 95% CI -1.39 to 0.35, p = 0.24 and MD 1.14, 95% CI -0.61 to 2.89, p = 0.20, respectively). The patients in the home telerehabilitation group showed improvement in physical activity and functional status similar to patients in the conventional therapy group. Discussion The evidence from this systematic literature review demonstrated that telerehabilitation is a practical alternative to conventional face-to-face rehabilitation therapy in patients who underwent TKA.

Keywords: Telerehabilitation; meta-analysis; systematic literature review; total knee arthroplasty.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Telerehabilitation* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome