Beneficial and limiting factors in return to work after primary total knee replacement: Patients' perspective

T M J Pahlplatz, M U Schafroth, C Krijger, T H Hylkema, C N van Dijk, M H W Frings-Dresen, P P F M Kuijer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Return to work (RTW) is an important outcome in Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA). At present, 70-80%of TKA patients return to work within three to six months. What are patients' perspectives regarding beneficial and limiting factors in RTW after TKA? METHODS: Focus groups were formed in accordance with the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) checklist. Three major topics were explored: 1. What was beneficial for RTW after TKA; 2. What was limiting for RTW after TKA; and 3. What additional care would benefit RTW after TKA? RESULTS: Data saturation was reached after four focus groups, comprising 17 participants - nine men and eight women (median age 58, range 52-65). The focus group study identified four main themes that contributed to a successful RTW namely rehabilitation (medical) like post-operative physical therapy, patient characteristics (personal), like motivation to RTW, occupational characteristics (work-related) like build-up in work tasks and medical support (medical) like availability of a walker or crutches. CONCLUSION: According to participants, factors within the following four themes can contribute to a successful return to work: occupational, patient, rehabilitation and medical care. Incorporating these factors into the integrated care pathway for the 'young' TKA patients may increase the chances of a successful RTW.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-902
Number of pages8
JournalWork (Reading, Mass.)
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Total knee arthroplasty (TKA)
  • employment
  • patient preferences
  • return to work (RTW)

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