Reflex sympathetic dystrophy as a cause of poor results after total knee arthroplasty

Michael M. Katz, David S. Hungerford, Kenneth A. Krackow, Dennis W. Lennox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


In a series of 662 primary total knee arthroplasties, reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) was diagnosed in five patients (0.8%), four of whom demonstrated marked limitation of flexion requiring manipulation during the early postoperative period. Limitation of flexion, along with excessive pain and cutaneous hypersensitivity, should alert the surgeon to the possibility of RSD. Classic posttraumatic RSD findings of objective vasomotor changes and radiographic osteopenia may be difficult to interpret in patients after total knee arthroplasty. Sympathetic blockade is the key diagnostic and therapeutic measure in the management of RSD. RSD should be considered in a differential diagnosis of early poor results after total knee arthroplasty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986


  • dystrophy
  • knee
  • knee arthroplasty
  • reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • total knee arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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