View Full Version : Knee surgery & continuous passive motion

Carrie Klumpar
12-08-2004, 10:06 AM
I'll be going in for ACL reconstruction surgery in January and I'm looking for input from folks with personal or close secondhand (or professional) experience with continuous passive motion (CPM) machines—which mechanically bend and straighten the knee, gradually increasing the ROM—used postoperatively on knee surgery patients.

I had an ACL reconstruction on my right knee nine months ago and didn't use a CPM following that surgery—just iced and elevated it a lot and did the flexion/extension exercises on my own and started formal physical therapy about a week after surgery. No problems getting full ROM well within the prescribed time. Now that I need the same $%*&#)! surgery on my left knee, I'm considering a surgeon whose rehab protocol calls for using the CPM for up to 6-7 days post-op. I know some people rave about the ROM results they achieve from it, and this doc (who's apparently The Man for ACL surgery in Seattle) is committed to it. But I've also heard that there isn't any conclusive evidence that it affects outcomes in any measurable way, and I'm wondering if totally passive ROM is really the best thing to go for anyway.

So, in my waffling and indecision, I turn to the ever-helpful members of the CF board for information, personal stories, insights, and the like on CPM use. Did you (or someone you know) use one, how was it, how quickly did you achieve full ROM, etc.? Any input on this (or other aspects of knee surgery prep and rehab, for that matter) appreciated.

Lincoln Brigham
12-08-2004, 10:52 AM
Strapping a patient into a machine that forces them to work the joint strikes me as ONE way to get patients to adhere to their physical therapy!

Carl Herzog
12-09-2004, 06:31 PM

Sorry to hear your going to have to go through that a second time. Good luck!

My doc had me use CPM during my ACL rehab. In fact, he was so in favor of the method he chewed out the folks in the hospital because they didn't get me started immediately after the surgery, as he had specified.

Without anything to compare it to I'm only guessing, but I remember thinking at the time that there was no way I could have achieved the same range of motion so soon any other way.

Carrie Klumpar
12-11-2004, 03:47 PM
Thanks for the comments.

Carl, how soon did you also start physical therapy?

Robert Wolf
12-12-2004, 05:54 PM
Hey Carrie-

We are an outpatient clinic, so i have no experience with the ROM device you mention. Here are a few observations however:
1-People who are healthy prior to surgery heal faster.

2-People obtain the "best" results from beginning rehab as early as they can.

3-The first stage of rehab is passive range of motion, regardless of whether this starts 5min post-op or 5 days.

All this considered, I think it (CRM) sounds like a good bet. Either way however, you are young, healthy and determined and that will ensure your complete recovery more than any particular modality IMO.