Telemedicine approach for patient follow-up after total knee and reverse total shoulder arthroplasty: a pilot study

Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg. 2023 Mar;18(3):595-602. doi: 10.1007/s11548-022-02784-z. Epub 2022 Nov 23.


Purpose: The study aimed to demonstrate the reduction in postoperative follow-up visit time for patients receiving total knee arthroplasty (TKA) or reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) by implementing a novel asynchronous telemedicine system compared to face-to-face visits. The range of motion interobserver agreement and patient satisfaction were evaluated in the telemedicine group.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with a total of 28 patients with a mean age of 71 years (range 13.3). Patients were distributed into two study groups, TKA (n = 14) and RTSA (n = 14), and each group was randomly allocated into a face-to-face or virtual follow-up visit group. For the virtual group, software was designed including patient-specific model items (X-ray, range of motion and functional scores) for each arthroplasty. Functional assessment was conducted using the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) score for TKA and American Shoulder and Elbow score (ASES) and Simple Shoulder Test (SST) for RTSA. The range of motion interobserver concordance was conducted in the virtual follow-up groups via an intraclass correlation coefficient. Finally, a satisfaction survey was performed in the virtual follow-up groups. Mann-Whitney U test was used for statistical analysis.

Results: Mean time differences between face-to-face and virtual follow-ups were 502.5 s (95% CI 387.8-617.1; p < 0.002) in the RTSA group and 710 s (95% CI 597.91-822; p < 0. 002) in the TKA group. The range of motion interobserver concordance in the virtual group was 0.974 for TKA and 0.804 for RTSA. Finally, virtual follow-up satisfaction using the telematic method was 8.9 out of 10.

Conclusion: The results of this study showed that a virtual follow-up using asynchronous telemedicine systems could reduce visit times, allow a correct articular range of motion evaluation and maintain satisfaction perception for patients. Asynchronous telemedicine could be an efficient method to conduct postoperative follow-up after knee and shoulder arthroplasty.

Keywords: Arthroplasty; Internet-based intervention; Patient care management; Telehealth.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arthroplasty
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Shoulder*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shoulder Joint* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome