Total knee replacement surgery can significantly improve physical functioning and motor skills of older patients with osteoarthritis, according to Duke researchers.
The study showed that recipients of total knee replacements experienced 17.5pct increase in mobility, a 39.3pct improvement in motor skills; and a 46.9pct decrease in limitations in activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing oneself.
"In this era of cost-cutting, policymakers have underscored the importance of evaluating treatments in terms of effectiveness and benefits to patients," said lead author Dr Frank Sloan, McMahon professor of health policy and management and professor of economics at Duke University.
"Our findings show that knee replacements are effective in treating patients with advanced osteoarthritis, contributing to reduced disability and improved quality of life for these individuals.
"Such findings are extremely important for the broader context of discussions about healthcare reform, cost-containment, device quality, and patient safety," he added.
According to Sloan, total knee replacement has repeatedly been shown to offer clinical benefits for patients with osteoarthritis, a major risk factor for disability.
Recently, a team at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Boston University School of Public Health confirmed that, for older adults with advanced osteoarthritis, total knee replacement also appears to be a cost-effective procedure across all patient risk groups.
"We know that the inability to perform activities of daily living is highly predictive of nursing home admittance, as patients can no longer care for themselves," said Sloan.
"TKA offers the potential for extending independence and therefore delays the need for assisted living," he added.
The study appears in Medical Care.