Disarticulation of the knee: Analysis of an extended database on survival, wound healing, and ambulation

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Abstract

Objective:

This study analyzed survival of the amputee patients, wound healing, and ambulation after knee disarticulation (KD).

Methods:

Between July 1989 and October 2015, 153 KDs in 138 patients were performed at Nij Smellinghe Hospital, Drachten. Data were retrieved from hospital medical records. Wound healing was analyzed using nonparametric tests. Ambulation was recorded according to the Special Interest Group Amputation Medicine Workgroup Amputation and Prosthetics mobility scale.

Results:

Survival at 1, 6, and 12 months was 86%, 65%, and 55%, respectively. Wounds healed in 91% of patients. Wounds healed primarily in 57% of residual limbs, and healing was delayed in 33%. A transfemoral amputation (TFA) was performed in 10%. Patients with sagittal flaps had significantly poorer primary wound healing and delayed wound healing more often than patients with a dorsal-myocutaneous (dorsomyocutaneous) flap (P < .027). In total, 62% of patients were provided with a prosthesis. Preoperatively, 71% of the patients had intention to ambulate with prosthesis, of which 91% received prosthesis. Of these, 35% walked without the help of others. KD amputee patients who underwent a reamputation at the transfemoral level were significantly less ambulant than amputee patients who did not (P < .021).

Conclusions:

If feasible, the dorsomyocutaneous flap technique seems to be the treatment of choice in KD. Because the wound complication rate of the group with a dorsomyocutaneous flap and the percentage of amputee patients who received prosthesis after KD fell within the same range as TFA amputee patients, KD may be an appropriate alternative when surgeons consider a TFA.

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