Extensor mechanism disruption after total knee arthroplasty is a challenging complication for orthopaedic surgeons. The treatment options for repair include observation, direct primary repair, direct primary repair with synthetic ligament or autogenous tissue augmentation, or reconstruction with allograft tissue. A computerized systemic review and literature search was performed to identify the relevant literature on extensor mechanism disruptions associated with total knee arthroplasty. A comprehensive review of the literature and description of relevant treatment options and outcomes were performed using the information gained with the literature review. A multi-center prospective study on a consecutive series of patients recruited from the North American Knee Arthroplasty Revision (NAKAR) study was performed and data collected pre-operatively, intra-operatively, and post-operatively on patients that had a failed total knee arthroplasty using validated health related quality of life measures was analyzed. Six out of 290 patients in the study had extensor mechanism disruption and this group of patients had overall worse functional outcomes. The results of the study have solidified our knowledge that patients with extensor mechanism disruptions have worse functional outcomes and will need intensive management and rehabilitation.
Level of Evidence: Economic and decision analyses, level III (systematic review of level III studies). See Guide for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.