Quadriceps Dysfunction Following Joint Preservation Surgery: A Review of the Pathophysiologic Basis and Mitigation Strategies

Daniel J. Cognetti, Thomas B. Lynch, Elizabeth Rich, Asheesh Bedi, Aman Dhawan, Andrew J. Sheean

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: To characterize quadriceps muscle dysfunction associated with knee joint preservation surgery, with a focus on its pathophysiology and promising approaches to mitigate its impact on clinical outcomes. Recent Findings: Quadriceps dysfunction (QD) associated with knee joint preservation surgery results from a complex interplay of signaling, related to changes within the joint and from those involving the overlying muscular envelope. Despite intensive rehabilitation regimens, QD may persist for many months postoperatively and negatively impact clinical outcomes associated with various surgical procedures. These facts underscore the need for continued investigation into the potential detrimental effects of regional anesthetic and intraoperative tourniquet use on postoperative quadriceps function, with an outward focus on innovation within the field of postoperative rehabilitation. Neuromuscular stimulation, nutritional supplementation, cryotherapy, blood flow restriction (BFR), and open-chain exercises are all potential additions to postoperative regimens. There is compelling literature to suggest that these modalities are efficacious and may diminish the magnitude and duration of postoperative QD. Summary: A clear understanding of QD, with respect to its pathophysiology, should guide perioperative treatment and rehabilitation strategies and influence ongoing rehabilitation-based research and innovation. Moreover, clinicians must appreciate the magnitude of QD’s effect on diminished clinical outcomes, risk for re-injury and patients’ ability (or inability) to return to pre-injury level of activity following knee joint preservation procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-345
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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