Background and purpose - 1 in 5 patients are dissatisfied following unicompartmental or total knee arthroplasty (UKA or TKA). This may be partly explained by failing to return to desired activity post-arthroplasty. To facilitate return to desired activity, a greater understanding of predictors of return to desired activity in UKA and TKA patients is needed. We compared rates of return to desired activity 12 months following UKA vs. TKA, and identified and compared predictors of return to desired activity 12 months following UKA vs. TKA. Patients and methods - Patients were prospectively recruited from 2 hospitals prior to undergoing UKA or primary TKA. Patients reported preoperatively the activity/activities that were limited due to their knee that they wished to return to after arthroplasty. At 12-months postoperatively, patients reported whether they had returned to these activities ('return to desired activity'). Preoperative predictors evaluated were age, sex, BMI, education, comorbidities, pain expectations, Oxford Knee Score (OKS), UCLA Activity Score, and EQ-5D. Generalized linear models assessed the relationship between potential predictors and return-to-desired-activity. Results - The response rate of all patients eligible for 12-month follow-up was 74%. TKA patients (n = 575) were older (mean (SD) 70 (9) vs. 67 (10)) with a greater BMI (31 (6) vs. 30 (5)) than patients undergoing UKA (n = 420). 75% of UKA and 59% of TKA patients returned to desired activity. TKA patients had a greater risk of non-return to desired activity than patients undergoing UKA (risk ratio (95% CI) 1.5 (1.2-1.8)). Predictors of non-return to desired activity following UKA were worse OKS (0.96 (0.93-0.99)), higher BMI (1.04 (1.01-1.08)), and worse expectations (1.9 (1.2-2.8)). Predictors of non-return to desired activity following TKA were worse EQ-5D (0.53 (0.33-0.85)) and worse OKS (0.98 (0.96-1.0)). Interpretation - UKA patients were more likely to return to desired activity than TKA patients. Predictors of return to desired activity differed following UKA and TKA. Optimizing selection of arthroplasty procedure based on patient characteristics and targeting predictors of poor outcome may facilitate return to desired activity with potential to enhance postoperative satisfaction.
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