Pre-discharge postoperative radiographs after primary total knee replacement: Tradition or science?

Senthil Nathan Sambandam, Vishesh Khanna, Ganeshkumar Rohinikumar, Varatharaj Mounasamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Consistent evidence exists on the inutility of immediate postoperative radiographs after a total knee replacement (TKR). We hypothesized that eliminating the pre-discharge film would not have any effect on the postoperative patient outcomes. Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data was performed on 220 knees. Patients undergoing a simple primary TKR operated by 2 surgeons (Surgeon A and B) from January 2013 to July 2015 were divided into 2 groups (Groups 1 and 2 having 112 and 108 knees respectively). While Surgeon A routinely asked for the second postoperative day pre-discharge radiograph, Surgeon B directly performed weight bearing radiographs 6 weeks postoperatively. Greater knee pain was seen in Group 1 (p = 0.01). No changes in rehabilitation protocols based on pre-discharge radiographs, complications, medico-legal issues or revision surgery could be identified in any patient. The quality of the pre-discharge radiographs was adequate in 65 of the 112 knees (58%). A cost reduction of approximately $220 per patient was observed with the exclusion of the pre-discharge film. Eliminating routine inpatient pre-discharge radiographs after simple primary TKR does not alter the rehabilitation protocol, identify any of the standard complication or have any medico-legal implications. On the contrary, these films seem to increase postoperative pain and costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-139
Number of pages8
JournalActa orthopaedica Belgica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Postoperative radiographs
  • Total knee arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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