THE EFFECT OF FEMORAL NOTCHING DURING TOTAL KNEE ARTHROPLASTY ON THE PREVALENCE OF POSTOPERATIVE FEMORAL FRACTURES AND ON CLINICAL OUTCOME


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Abstract

BackgroundThe treatment of a supracondylar femoral fracture following total knee arthroplasty is complicated by the presence of the prosthetic components. Anterior femoral notching during arthroplasty has been implicated as a contributing risk factor for femoral fracture. We retrospectively reviewed the effect of anterior femoral notching on the subsequent occurrence of a periprosthetic supracondylar fracture of the distal aspect of the femur and the outcomes of primary total knee arthroplasty in such patients.MethodsThe prevalence and depth of femoral notching were determined on a review of the lateral radiographs by observers blinded to the clinical results of 1089 consecutive total knee replacements performed in 1997 and 1998. Linear and logistic regression modeling was used to analyze the relationship between femoral notching and the prevalence of supracondylar femoral fracture, postoperative range of motion, the Knee Society score, and the Knee Society functional and pain scores.ResultsFemoral notching was performed in 325 (29.8%) of the 1089 knees in our series. During an average follow-up period of 5.1 years, only two supracondylar femoral fractures occurred, both in femora treated without notching. Femoral notching was not associated with an increased rate of fracture (p = 1.000) or with significant differences in the measures of outcome (range of motion [p = 0.117], knee score [p = 0.967], functional score [p = 0.861], need for a lateral release [p = 0.234], or postoperative pain [p = 0.948]).ConclusionsThis study demonstrated no difference in knees managed with or without notching of the anterior distal aspect of the femur with respect to the occurrence of a supracondylar fracture, range of motion, Knee Society score, Knee Society function, or pain.Level of EvidenceTherapeutic Level III. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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