Knee surgery outcomes are also highly dependent on pain and function levels before the operation, noted Dr. Tomas Sveikata, a surgeon at Republican Vilnius University Hospital in Lithuania.
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“If the surgery is done in the earlier stage of the disease, the final result will be better,” Sveikata, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Sometimes patients come in very late stages of the disease with big deformities and very poor function. Then it’s impossible to achieve (an) excellent postoperative result.”
Even so, the results suggest that clinicians need to consider patients’ education levels when communicating with them about follow-up care, said Leigh Callahan, associate director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
“Individuals with more education living in communities with higher levels of poverty might have better outcomes than individuals with less education living in those communities because more education may help someone communicate with the health care team better about follow-up care,” Callahan, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.
“People should not be afraid to tell their physicians, nurses, physical therapists or any other providers that they are not being clear as to what they are to do when they are rehabilitating,” Callahan added.
- Goodman SM, Mandl LA, Mehta B. Education mitigates the effect of poverty on total knee arthroplasty outcomes. Arthritis Care & Research (Hoboken). 2017 Nov 22. [Epub ahead of print]