Manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) for stiffness within 6 to 12 weeks after mechanically aligned total knee arthroplasty (TKA) generally yields better outcome scores than an MUA performed later. However, the timing of MUA after unrestricted, caliper-verified, kinematically aligned (KA) TKA remains uncertain. A retrospective review identified 82 of 3558 (2.3%) KA TKA patients treated with an MUA between 2010 and 2017. Thirty patients treated with an MUA within 3 months of the TKA (i.e., early) and 24 in the late group (i.e., >3 months) returned a questionnaire after a mean of 6 years and 5 years, respectively. Mean outcome scores for the early vs. late group were 78 vs. 62 for the Forgotten Joint Score (FJS) (p = 0.023) and 42 vs. 39 for the Oxford Knee Score (OKS) (p = 0.037). Subjectively, the early vs. late group responses indicated that 83% vs. 67% walked without a limp, 73% vs. 54% had normal extension, and 43% vs. 25% had normal flexion. An MUA within 3 months after unrestricted KA TKA provided excellent FJS and OKS at final follow-up relative to a late MUA. A late MUA performed after 3 months is worth consideration because of the good FJS and OKS scores, albeit with a risk of a persistent limp and limitation in knee extension and flexion.
Keywords: Oxford knee score; forgotten joint score; implant survival; reoperation; revision.