Pain experience and functional outcome of inpatient versus outpatient anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, an equivalence randomized controlled trial with 12 months follow-up

K. P. Valkering, C. J. A. van Bergen, G. A. Buijze, P. H. A. F. Nagel, W. E. Tuinebreijer, R. S. Breederveld

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Arthroscopic reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) has traditionally been performed in an inpatient setting. Outpatient treatment may offer the advantages of cost reduction and higher patient satisfaction. We investigated whether ACL reconstruction in an outpatient setting is equally safe as in an inpatient setting and whether comparable functional outcomes can be achieved. We hypothesized that the outcomes of outpatient ACL reconstruction result in similar outcomes as inpatient ACL reconstruction. A prospective randomized controlled trial was conducted at one centre. Forty-six patients were randomized to outpatient treatment or a 2-day admission after ACL reconstruction. The functional outcome was evaluated with the Lysholm, Tegner and International Knee Documentation Committee scores. Safety of the procedures was judged according to pain experience and readmission rate. The duration of follow-up was 1 year after ACL reconstruction. The patients were provided with a simple postoperative analgesic protocol. The linear mixed effect model for repeated measures was used for testing the differences between the study groups. No significant differences were found between the study groups in all the outcome measures. No readmissions were recorded related to pain. One complication was recorded in the outpatient group versus three in the inpatient group. This study indicates that outpatient care after ACL reconstruction yields comparable functional results and postoperative pain experience as inpatient care and is a safe option. A simple analgesic protocol provides adequate pain relief during the postoperative phase. I
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-116
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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