Does preoperative neuropathic-like pain and central sensitisation affect the post-operative outcome of knee joint replacement for osteoarthritis? A systematic review and meta analysis

A.E. Wluka, M.K. Yan, K.Y. Lim, S.M. Hussain, F.M. Cicuttini

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Almost a third of those undergoing knee replacement for osteoarthritis have poor outcomes despite technically successful surgery. Preoperative neuropathic-like pain and/or pain sensitisation may increase the risk of pain following joint replacement. Objective: To examine whether preoperative neuropathic-like pain and pain sensitisation predicts pain, function and satisfaction following joint replacement for knee osteoarthritis. Design: Systematic review with meta-analysis. Methods: Medline, EMBASE and CINAHL were systematically searched until March 2020. Studies detecting neuropathic-like pain and/or sensitisation using self-report questionnaires prior to knee replacement for osteoarthritis, and relating this to post-operative outcomes were identified. Data extraction, risk of bias assessment and meta-analysis were performed, where appropriate. Results: Five manuscripts, including one preprint, examining six cohorts were included: four used painDETECT or modified painDETECT, one the Self-Report Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs, and another the Central Sensitisation Inventory to identify preoperative characteristics. Three studies showed preoperative neuropathic-like pain or sensitisation was associated with more intense post-operative pain. All four studies examining the risk of significant pain after knee replacement suggested it was increased after >3 months. The only study examining patient satisfaction and function found reduced satisfaction, but no difference in function in those with preoperative sensitisation. Meta-analysis found the relative risk of increased pain following knee replacement in those with neuropathic-like pain (painDETECT ≥13) to be 2.05 (95% confidence intervals 1.51, 2.79). Conclusion: These results provide consistent but limited evidence that self-report tools detecting neuropathic-like pain and/or pain sensitisation, predict patients at higher risk of pain following knee replacement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403-1411
Number of pages9
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Knee arthroplasty
  • Neuropathic-like pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain sensitisation

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