A review of current wearable technology and innovations for rehabilitation following hip and knee replacement.
Introduction/Background Total knee replacement (TKR) and total hip replacement (THR) are highly successful operations for controlling pain, restoring function and enhancing quality of life for patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis. However approaches to rehabilitation following surgery vary greatly and evidence is limited with regard to successful interventions. There is a wide variety of new technologies and wearable sensor devices currently being marketed, which are proposed to assist with rehabilitation following joint replacement. However, very little is known about how these technologies work, how they differ, and whether they are effective.
Material and Method A search was conducted of the PubMed database of studies from January 2000 to October 2017. The Review was structured using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Search terms included: hip arthroplasty, hip replacement, hip prosthesis, knee arthroplasty, knee replacement, knee prosthesis, rehabilitation, recovery, trackers, devices, wearables, and sensors. Studies included those that were published in English language and examined portable wearable technologies capable of providing feedback to the end user following hip or knee replacement surgery. Results Five studies met the eligibility criteria, and all used an accelerometer and a gyroscope for their technology. A review of the studies found very little evidence to support the efficacy of the technology, although they show that the use of the technology is feasible.
Conclusion Wearable technology is being promoted by companies as a way of improving rehabilitation following THR and TKR surgery. However, this review finds very little evidence to support its efficacy. Future work should establish which wearable technology is most valuable to patients, which improves patient outcomes, and the most economical model for deploying the technology.