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Targeted interventions may help workers after knee replacement: study

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Newcastle upon Tyne, England – Increased awareness and targeted interventions may help improve return-to-work outcomes for workers who undergo total knee replacement procedures, according to a recent study from Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University in England.

Researchers said such procedures increased 7.3 percent from 2011 to 2012 in England and Wales. They also noted that more workers are delaying retirement, which means total knee replacements increasingly involve men and women still in the workforce.

As part of the study, 10 workers who received total knee replacements spoke with researchers about their return-to-work experiences. Findings showed that the return-to-work process was hindered by delays in surgical intervention, limited advice about returning to the workplace and a dearth of work-focused rehabilitation.

The time required to return to work varied among respondents. A 40-year-old woman returned to the workplace five weeks after her surgery. Two workers required six weeks to return to the workplace; one worker required eight weeks; two workers required 10 weeks; three workers required 12 weeks; and one worker required 13 weeks.

“Early return to employment has recognized physical and mental health, social, and economic benefits for patients and society,” the study’s authors wrote. “There is increasing awareness that successful return to work is a crucial marker of outcome for patients after TKR.”

The study was published online Feb. 1 in the journal BMJ Open.

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