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The Iowa Orthopaedic Journal



Knee injuries induce swelling and resolution of swelling may be a useful factor in identifying states of healing and time to return to sports activities. Recent work has suggested that bioimpedance can provide an objective measure of swelling following total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and therefore may also provide guidance for clinical decision-making following knee injury. This study measures knee bioimpedance in young, active people to help define baseline variability and factors that influence limb to limb differences.


Bioimpedance was measured via sensors placed at the foot/ankle and thigh, in positions similar to those suggested for monitoring post-TKA swelling. Initial tests were performed to verify method repeatability, then bioimpedance was measured in a convenience sample of 78 subjects (median age 21yrs). The influence of age, BMI, thigh circumference, and knee function (KOOS-JR) on the impedance measures and difference in impedance between the subject’s knees were examined using a generalized multivariable linear regression.


The repeatability study measurements were highly consistent with a COV of 1.5% for resistance and an ICC of 97.9%. Women exhibited significantly larger dominant limb impedance and larger limb to limb difference in impedance than men. Regression analysis indicated that subject sex and BMI significantly influenced bioimpedance but joint score and age did not. The limb to limb differences in impedance were small on average (<5%), with larger magnitudes of difference associated with female sex, lower knee function scores, and larger limb to limb differences in thigh circumference.


Bioimpedance measurements across right and left knees of healthy young people were similar, supporting use of bioimpedance measures from a patient’s uninjured knee as a benchmark to monitor healing of a contralateral injured knee. Future work should focus on understanding how knee function scores and bioimpedance are related, and further explore how sex and side to side anatomic differences impact the measurement.





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