A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) use for Recovery after Elective Total Hip Replacement Surgery

Bull Hosp Jt Dis (2013). 2016 Nov;74(4):275-281.


Early physical activity has been proven to accelerate functional recovery after total hip replacement (THR). Weightbearing intolerance secondary to postoperative pain inhibits participation in physical therapy and limits the achievement of functional independence. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) has been shown to improve pain and accelerate recovery. This study focused on the effects of NMES on weightbearing pain. The primary objective of this study was to compare the efficacy of NMES versus placebo in the reduction of pain and the use of opiate medications in the treatment of patients during weightbearing exercises after THR. A secondary objective was to assess the use of NMES during weightbearing exercise and its effects on function, hospital length of stay, and disposition planning. This was a randomized, doubleblinded, placebo-controlled study performed with subjects obtained from an outpatient orthopaedic service. Subject underwent elective THR. The NMES device was provided to all subjects; active and a control group were assigned different intensity levels of stimulation. Twenty-nine subjects participated in the study: 15 in the active and 14 in the control group. Data, including pain assessment, opiates use, function, hospital length of stay in days, and disposition was recorded and analyzed. Both control and active groups showed no significant difference on the pain visual analog scale at various postoperative time intervals, length of inpatient hospital stay, and days on opiate medications.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / rehabilitation*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Elective Surgical Procedures
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / innervation
  • Hip Joint / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / physiopathology
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Patient Discharge
  • Recovery of Function
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight-Bearing


  • Analgesics, Opioid