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2020 Chitranjan S. Ranawat Award: Perioperative essential amino acid supplementation suppresses rectus femoris muscle atrophy and accelerates early functional recovery following total knee arthroplasty

a prospective double-blind randomized controlled trial

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The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of perioperative essential amino acid (EAA) supplementation to prevent rectus femoris muscle atrophy and facilitate early recovery of function after total knee arthroplasty (TKA).


The study involved 60 patients who underwent unilateral TKA for primary knee osteo-arthritis (OA). This was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized control trial with patients randomly allocated to two groups, 30 patients each: the essential amino acid supplementation (9 g daily) and placebo (lactose powder, 9 g daily) groups. Supplementation and placebo were provided from one week before to two weeks after surgery. The area of the rectus femoris muscle were measured by ultrasound imaging one month before surgery and one, two, three, and four weeks postoperatively. The serum albumin level, a visual analogue knee pain score, and mobility were also measured at each time point. The time to recovery of activities of daily living (ADLs) was recorded. Postoperative nutrition and physiotherapy were identical in both groups.


The mean relative change from baseline was as follows for the amino acid group: 116% in rectus femoris muscle area (71% to 206%); 95% in serum albumin (80% to 115%) and 39% in VAS pain (0% to 100%) at four weeks after surgery. These values in the placebo group were: 97% in muscle area (68 to 155); 89% in serum albumin (71% to 100%) and 56% in VAS pain four weeks after surgery (0% to 100%). All changes were statistically significant (p < 0.05). The mean time to recovery of ADLs was shorter in the amino acid group compared with the placebo group (p = 0.005).


Perioperative essential amino acid supplementation prevents rectus femoris muscle atrophy and accelerates early functional recovery after TKA.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(6 Supple A):10–18.

Correspondence should be sent to Hideki Ueyama. E-mail:

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