Reconstruction of composite soft-tissue defects with extensor apparatus deficiency in patients with periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) of the knee is challenging. We present a single-centre multidisciplinary orthoplastic treatment concept based on a retrospective outcome analysis over 20 years.
One-hundred sixty-seven patients had PJI after total knee arthroplasty. Plastic surgical reconstruction of a concomitant perigenicular soft-tissue defect was indicated in 49 patients. Of these, seven presented with extensor apparatus deficiency.
One patient underwent primary arthrodesis and six patients underwent autologous reconstruction of the extensor apparatus. The principle to reconstruct missing tissue ‘like with like’ was thereby favoured: Two patients with a wide soft-tissue defect received a free anterolateral thigh flap with fascia lata; one patient with a smaller soft-tissue defect received a free sensate, extended lateral arm flap with triceps tendon; and three patients received a pedicled medial sural artery perforator gastrocnemius flap, of which one with Achilles tendon. Despite good functional results 1 year later, long-term follow-up revealed that two patients had to undergo knee arthrodesis because of recurrent infection and one patient was lost to follow-up. In parts, results have been published under doi: 10.7150/jbji.47018.
A treatment concept and its rationale, based on a single-centre experience, is presented. It differentiates between various types of soft-tissue defects and shows reconstructive options following the concept to reconstruct ‘like with like’. Despite good results 1 year postoperatively, PJI of the knee with extensor apparatus deficiency remains a dreaded combination with a poor long-term outcome.