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BACKGROUND: One-in-five patients are dissatisfied following knee arthroplasty and <50% have fulfilled expectations. The relationship between knee-arthroplasty expectations and surgical outcome remains unclear. PURPOSE: Are expectations regarding the impact of pain on postoperative life predictive of one-year outcome? Does the impact of pain on preoperative quality of life (QOL) influence this relationship? METHODS: Longitudinal cohort of 1044 uni-compartmental (43%) or total knee-arthroplasty (57%) (UKA or TKA) patients, aged mean 69 ± 9 years. Preoperatively, patients reported the impact of pain on QOL and expected impact of pain on life one-year post-arthroplasty. One-year postoperative outcomes: non-return to desired activity, surgical dissatisfaction, not achieving Oxford Knee Score minimal important change (OKS <MIC). Logistic regression including covariates was performed for all patients and subgroups (better vs worse pre-operative pain-related QOL; UKA vs TKA). RESULTS: Expecting moderate-to-extreme pain (vs no pain) predicted non-return to activity (odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 2.3 [1.3, 4.1]), dissatisfaction (4.0 [1.7, 9.3]), OKS <MIC (3.1 [1.5, 6.3]). Expecting mild pain (vs no pain) predicted worse outcomes for patients with better preoperative pain-related QOL (non-return to activity: 2.7 [1.5, 4.8], OKS <MIC: 2.5 [1.1, 5.5]). Expecting moderate-to-extreme pain (vs. no pain) predicted worse outcomes for patients with worse preoperative pain-related QOL (non-return to activity: 2.4 [1.1, 5.5], dissatisfaction: 5.0 [1.7, 14.8], OKS <MIC: 3.4 [1.4, 8.6]). The odds of a poor outcome in people with worse expectations was higher for UKA patients. CONCLUSIONS: Expecting a worse outcome predicted surgical dissatisfaction, less clinical improvement and non-return to desired activity. Patients expecting a more optimistic outcome relative to preoperative status achieved better surgical outcomes.

Original publication




Journal article


J Arthroplasty

Publication Date





2146 - 2152.e4


optimism, pain, patient-reported outcomes, quality of life, satisfaction, Aged, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Female, Humans, Logistic Models, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Motivation, Optimism, Osteoarthritis, Knee, Pain, Pain Measurement, Patient Participation, Patient Satisfaction, Patient-Centered Care, Patients, Postoperative Period, Quality of Life, Risk, Treatment Outcome