Radiological evidence of post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) after fracture of the tibial plateau is common but end-stage arthritis which requires total knee arthroplasty is much rarer.
The aim of this study was to examine the indications for, and outcomes of, total knee arthroplasty after fracture of the tibial plateau and to compare this with an age and gendermatched cohort of TKAs carried out for primary osteoarthritis.
Between 1997 and 2011, 31 consecutive patients (23 women, eight men) with a mean age of 65 years (40 to 89) underwent TKA at a mean of 24 months (2 to 124) after a fracture of the tibial plateau. Of these, 24 had undergone ORIF and seven had been treated nonoperatively. Patients were assessed pre-operatively and at 6, 12 and > 60 months using the Short Form-12, Oxford Knee Score and a patient satisfaction score.
Patients with instability or nonunion needed total knee arthroplasty earlier (14 and 13.3 months post-injury) than those with intra-articular malunion (50 months, p < 0.001). Primary cruciate-retaining implants were used in 27 (87%) patients. Complication rates were higher in the PTOA cohort and included wound complications (13%vs1% p = 0.014) and persistent stiffness (10% vs 0%, p = 0.014). Two (6%) PTOA patients required revision total knee arthroplasty at 57 and 114 months. The mean Oxford knee score was worse preoperatively in the cohort with primary osteoarthritis (18 vs 30, p < 0.001) but there were no significant differences in post-operative Oxford knee score or patient satisfaction (primary osteoarthritis 86%, PTOA 78%, p = 0.437).
Total knee arthroplasty undertaken after fracture of the tibial plateau has a higher rate of complications than that undertaken for primary osteoarthritis, but patient-reported outcomes and satisfaction are comparable.