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AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To explore the patients' perspective of surgery and early recovery when undergoing lower limb (hip or knee) arthroplasty. BACKGROUND: Lower limb arthroplasty is a commonly performed procedure for symptomatic arthritis, which has not responded to conservative medical treatment. Each patient's perspective of the surgical process and early recovery period impacts on their quality of life. DESIGN: Open, semistructured qualitative interviews were used to allow for a deeper understanding of the patient perspective when undergoing a hip or knee arthroplasty. METHODS: Following ethical approval, 30 patients were interviewed between August and November 2016 during the perioperative period while undergoing an elective hip or knee arthroplasty (n = 30). The interviews were performed between the day of surgery and a nine-week postoperative clinic appointment. Data were analysed using an in-depth narrative thematic analysis method. NVivo qualitative data analysis software was used. RESULTS: Seven main themes evolved from the interviews: "improving function and mobility", "pain", "experiences of health care", "support from others", "involvement and understanding of care decisions", "behaviour and coping" and "fatigue and sleeping". CONCLUSIONS: The early postoperative recovery period is of vital importance to all surgical patients. This is no different for the orthopaedic patient. However, identifying key self-reported areas of importance from patients can guide clinical focus for healthcare professionals. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: To have specific patient-reported information regarding key areas of importance during the perioperative phase is invaluable when caring for the orthopaedic surgical patient. It gives insight and understanding in to this increasing population group. This study has also served as a starting point in the development of a questionnaire which could be used to assess interventions in the lower limb arthroplasty population. These results will influence both items and content of the questionnaire.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Nurs

Publication Date





2598 - 2608


arthroplasty, nursing research, patients' perspective, postoperative recovery, qualitative study, quality of recovery, surgery, total hip replacement, total knee replacement, unicompartmental knee replacement