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Unsatisfactory Outcome of Arthrodesis Performed After Septic Failure of Revision Total Knee Arthroplasty

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Abstract

Background:

Periprosthetic infection is one of the most dreaded orthopaedic complications. Current treatment procedures include one-stage or two-stage revision total knee arthroplasty. If the periprosthetic infection is no longer controllable after several revision total knee arthroplasties, many surgeons regard knee arthrodesis as a promising option. The aim of our study was to ascertain whether intramedullary nailing results in the suppression or eradication of an infection and to identify risk factors for persistent infection.

Methods:

All patients who had undergone intramedullary nailing following septic failure of revision total knee arthroplasty between 1997 and 2013 were included in the study. Pathogens, risk factors predisposing to persistent infection, and the rate of persistent infections were recorded. In addition, a visual analog scale (VAS) and Knee injury Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), Knee Society Score (KSS), Lysholm, Short Form-36 (SF-36), and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) questionnaires were completed to assess clinical outcomes and quality of life.

Results:

Twenty-six patients were included in the study. Thirteen (50%) had a persistent infection requiring additional revision surgery. Nineteen patients (73%) reported persistent pain (VAS score of >3). All scores showed marked impairment of quality of life.

Conclusions:

Intramedullary nailing following septic failure of revision total knee arthroplasty must be regarded with skepticism, and we cannot recommend it. Repeat revision total knee arthroplasty or amputation should be considered as an alternative in such difficult cases.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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