Objective: Expectancies have a well-documented influence on the experience of pain, responses to treatment, and postsurgical outcomes. In individuals with osteoarthritis, several studies have shown that expectations predict increased pain and disability after total knee replacement surgery. Despite the growing recognition of the importance of expectancies in clinical settings, few studies have examined the influence of expectancies throughout postsurgical recovery trajectories. The objective of the present study was to examine the role of presurgical expectancies on pain and function at 6-week, 6-month, and 1-year follow-ups after total knee arthroplasty.
Design and participants: Data were collected from patients scheduled for total knee arthroplasty 1 week before surgery and then at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year after surgery. Correlational and multivariable regression analyses examined the influence of expectancies on patients' perceptions of pain reduction and functional improvement at each time point. Analyses controlled for age, sex, body mass index, presurgical pain intensity and function, pain catastrophizing, anxiety, and depression.
Results: Results revealed that expectancies significantly predicted pain reduction and functional improvement at 1-year follow-up. However, expectancies did not predict outcomes at the 6-week and 6-month follow-ups. Catastrophizing and depressive symptoms emerged as short-term predictors of postsurgical functional limitations at 6-week and 6-month follow-ups, respectively.
Conclusions: The results suggest that targeting high levels of catastrophizing and depressive symptoms could optimize short-term recovery after total knee arthroplasty. However, the results demonstrate that targeting presurgical negative expectancies could prevent prolonged recovery trajectories, characterized by pain and loss of function up to 1 year after total knee arthroplasty.
Keywords: Expectancies; Function; Pain; Total Knee Arthroplasty.
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