How Soon Can TKA Patients Drive?

    Patients who have right-sided total knee arthroplasty (TKA) often ask when they can drive again. The answer may be 2 weeks, provided they receive an enhanced pain and rehabilitation protocol.

    A team from the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center presented the results of their study on TKA and driving at the 26th annual meeting of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS).

    Forty-five consecutive patients undergoing cemented tricompartmental TKA on their right leg were included in the study. Before surgery (within 2 weeks preoperatively), they were tested by an occupational therapist on a computerized driver simulator for the categories of gas off, transition time, reaction time, and distance travelled following brake application.

    Perioperatively, all patients received local infiltrative analgesia and a multimodal pain management program; they also participated in a rapid rehabilitation program. Then, 2 weeks after surgery, the same driving tests were given.

    Thirty-six of the 40 patients who completed the study had returned to or improved on their baseline driving parameters by the 2-week time frame; the 4 remaining patients did so by 3 weeks. Of the 40 patients, 13 had no assistive devices and 17 were using opioids, according to the researchers.


    Dalury DF, Chapman DM, Schroder DT. Right TKR patients treated with enhanced pain and rehabilitation protocols can drive at 2 weeks (ePoster 11). Presented at the AAHKS 26th Annual Meeting, November 10-13, 2016, in Dallas, Texas.