Stiffness following total knee arthroplasty is a disabling complication. One of the management options of stiffness includes manipulation under anaesthesia, but no real consensus exist on appropriate timing of intervention, and the timing and results of the manipulation under anaesthesia (MUA) are under debate in the literature. Our aim was to determine the efficacy of single and multiple manipulations under anaesthesia following total knee arthroplasty and to determine the most appropriate timing for manipulation. We retrospectively reviewed 86 patients who underwent manipulation for stiffness following primary total knee replacement with at least 1-year follow-up. Range of motion before surgery, at the time of the MUA, immediately after MUA and at 6 weeks and 1 year post-MUA were recorded. At the end of 1 year post-manipulation, manipulations performed at less than 20 weeks, following primary total knee arthroplasty, showed 31° of flexion gain as compared to only 1.5° of flexion gain when manipulation was undertaken after 20 weeks. Of the 86 patients, 21 had multiple manipulations with no significant difference in flexion gain after the second manipulation. Patients on warfarin (26%) had an increased incidence of stiffness and poor flexion gain. This study showed that better results were achieved when manipulation was performed at less than 20 weeks (particularly between 12 and 14 weeks) from primary surgery with no added benefit from re-manipulations.

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