J Knee Surg
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-56998
Special Focus Section

Factors Important to Patients when Making Treatment Decisions for Knee Osteoarthritis

1   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
1   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
1   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
› Author Affiliations


Patient treatment decisions for knee osteoarthritis (OA) are driven largely by the patient's physical examination and radiograph findings. Because multiple treatment options may be medically appropriate, it is imperative that the patient's voice be considered to better facilitate patient-centered treatment decisions. Concordance between physicians and patients on optimal treatment can vary, with few studies identifying the factors important to patients when making treatment decisions for knee OA. The goal of this analysis is to identify and synthesize subjective factors in the literature found to influence patient decision-making in a presurgical knee OA population, such that physicians and health care teams can become better equipped to help patients realize their specific treatment goals. This review was registered with PROSPERO and conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses protocol. A systematic search was completed in four databases for search terms related to knee OA and decision-making. Articles were eligible for inclusion when they discussed (1) patients' thoughts, feelings, goals, and perceptions that factored into treatment deliberation and decision-making; and (2) related to knee OA. Twenty-four articles were identified, 11 qualitative studies and 13 quantitative studies. Synthesis of the included articles revealed three main themes that drive patient treatment decisions: (1) individual catalysts to pursue treatment including pain and mobility limitations, (2) interpersonal factors including social networks and clinician trust, and (3) risks versus benefits assessment including patients' beliefs and expectations. Only a few studies looked at nonoperative treatment decisions, and no studies looked at cohorts considering knee preservation surgeries. This study was completed to synthesize literature related to patient treatment decisions for nonoperative and surgical management of knee OA, finding that patients consider multiple subjective factors when choosing whether to move forward with treatment. Understanding how patients' beliefs determine their preferences for treatment can improve shared decision-making.

Supplementary Material

Publication History

Received: 03 January 2023

Accepted: 13 March 2023

Article published online:
18 April 2023

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