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BACKGROUND: The early postoperative recovery period following unicompartmental (UKA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is an important area for research with increasingly sensitive metrics and new technologies. This study uses 2 recently developed patient-reported scores to compare the recovery following UKA and TKA. METHODS: Two consecutive cohorts of 37 UKAs and 33 TKAs completed the Oxford Arthroplasty Early Recovery Score (OARS) and the Oxford Arthroplasty Early Change Score (OACS) on days 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, and week 6. The Short Form-36 version 2 was also completed on weeks 1, 2, and 6. Improvements within cohorts and comparisons between cohorts were assessed. RESULTS: For both UKA and TKA the speed of recovery was rapid early on and then progressively decreased. At all time points, the UKA cohort reported similar or significantly better scores than the TKA cohort. The overall OARS (P < .001) showed that UKA recovered, shown as improvement on the OARS, 2-3 times faster than TKA. OARS subscales demonstrated that UKA had better Function/Mobility (P = .003) particularly early in the recovery, and better Nausea/Feeling Unwell (P < .001) and Fatigue/Sleep (P = .009) later in the recovery. UKA also had less pain at 2 weeks (P = .03). There was no significant difference between UKA and TKA OACS. UKA had significantly better scores in 3 of the 8 Short Form-36 domains, with the largest difference being in Role-Emotional (P = .003). CONCLUSION: The OARS is useful for the assessment of postoperative recovery. This study provides direct evidence that recovery following UKA is better and 2-3 times faster than following TKA. All differences may be explained by the less invasive nature of UKA.

Original publication




Journal article


J arthroplasty

Publication Date



OARS, SF-36, knee, recovery, total, unicompartmental