Getting up and moving soon after a hip or knee replacement surgery shortens length of stay for patients, according to a small systematic review.
Findings were published Dec. 1 on the website of the journal Clinical Rehabilitation.
Researchers in Australia searched electronic databases for randomized controlled trials that included an experimental group sitting out of bed and/or walking earlier than a comparison group after a joint replacement surgery. All of the trials included in the review were conducted after a hip or knee replacement in an acute hospital.
Five randomized controlled trials with a total of 622 study participants were included in the review. During the meta-analysis, researchers found those in the early mobilization groups had length of stay reduced by about 1.8 days compared with patients in the comparison groups. The analysis also found in four of the five trials, participants in the experimental groups first sat out of bed within the first 24 hours after surgery. In four of the five included trials, early mobilization patients first walked within 48 hours after the joint replacement procedure, researchers found.
Individual trials reported benefits in range of motion, muscle strength and health-related quality of life in favor of the experimental group, the authors wrote in the study abstract.
The review also found no significant differences in the patients discharge destinations between the experimental groups and comparison groups. The meta-analysis also did not find an associated increase in negative outcomes or adverse results caused by early mobilization.
Early mobilization post hip or knee joint replacement surgery can result in a reduced length of stay of about 1.8 days, the authors concluded. Trials that reported these positive results showed that early mobilization can be achieved within 24 hours of operation.