McGrath ME, et al. Paper 659. Presented at: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting. March 22-26, 2022; Chicago.

Naylor reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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CHICAGO — Results showed patients who utilized a virtual physical therapy program after total knee arthroplasty had similar outcomes, but significant cost and time savings, compared with patients who used a formal physical therapy program.

“Virtual physical therapy may not be the best option for some, but I think for the vast majority of patients that are getting hip and knee replacements, this is an excellent option and can revolutionize this side of the health care system in terms of joint reconstruction,” Brandon H. Naylor, DO, arthritis and total joint specialist at Northside Hospital, told Healio about results he presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting.

Naylor and colleagues randomly assigned patients undergoing same-day discharge TKA to be enrolled in either a virtual physical therapy program or formal physical therapy program. Researchers collected Veterans Rand-12 (VR-12) mental and physical health component summary scores and Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for Joint Replacement scores preoperatively and at 6 and 12 weeks postoperatively. Investigators also measured the timed-up-and-go (TUG) test, range of motion and 4-meter gait speed test preoperatively and at 6 weeks postoperatively. Researchers also collected physical therapy utilization at 90 days postoperatively.

Brandon H. Naylor

Brandon H. Naylor

“We didn’t find any differences in the patient-reported outcome measures between the two arms,” Naylor said. “That was with both the mental and physical components of the VR-12. Additionally, [it was] the same thing with the KOOS JR and even with the patient’s perceived pain in terms of the numeric rating scale.”

Naylor added they found no differences in range of motion for both flexion and extension at the 6-week follow-up between the two groups, as well as no differences in the TUG test or 4-meter gait speed test. However, patients in the virtual physical therapy group had significantly higher overall satisfaction compared with patients in the formal physical therapy group, according to Naylor.

“We attributed this likely to the fact that they didn’t have to get out and drive to the physical therapy office multiple times per week and also saved on the copays that are associated with that,” Naylor said.