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General Orthopaedics


Current Concepts in Joint Replacement (CCJR) – Spring 2015


The amount of bone loss due to implant failure, loosening, or osteolysis can vary greatly and can have a major impact on reconstructive options during revision total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Massive bone loss can threaten ligamentous attachments in the vicinity of the knee and may require use of components with additional constraint to compensate for associated ligamentous instability. Classification of bone defects can be helpful in predicting the complexity of the reconstruction required and in facilitating pre-operative planning and implant selection. One very helpful classification of bone loss associated with TKA is the Anderson Orthopaedic Research Institute (AORI) Bone Defect Classification System as it provides the means to compare the location and extent of femoral and tibial bone loss encountered during revision surgery. In general, the higher grade defects (Type IIb or III) on both the femoral and tibial sides are more likely to require stemmed components, and may require the use of either structural graft or large augments to restore support for currently available modular revision components. Custom prostheses were previously utilised for massive defects of this sort, but more recently have been supplanted by revision TKA component systems with or without special metal augments or structural allograft.

Options for bone defect management are: 1) Fill with cement; 2) Fill with cement supplemented by screws or K-wires; 3) Morselised bone grafting (for smaller, especially contained cavitary defects); 4) Small segment structural bone graft; 5) Impaction grafting; 6) Large prosthetic augments (cones); 7) Massive structural allograft-prosthetic composites (APC); 8) Custom implants. Maximizing support on intact host bone is a fundamental principle to successful reconstruction and frequently requires extending fixation to the adjacent diaphysis. Pre-operative planning is facilitated by good quality radiographs, supplemented on occasion by additional imaging such as CT. Fluoroscopically controlled x-ray views may assist in diagnosing the loose implant by better revealing the interface between the implant and bone and can facilitate accurate delineation of the extent of bone deficiency present. Part of the pre-operative plan is to ensure adequate range and variety of implant choices and bone graft resources for the planned reconstruction allowing for the potential for unexpected intra-operative findings such as occult fracture through deficient periprosthetic bone.

Reconstruction of bone deficiency following removal of the failed implant is largely dictated by the location and extent of bone loss and the quality of bone that remains. While massive bone loss may compromise ligamentous attachment to bone, in the majority of reconstructions the degree of implant constraint needed for proper balancing and restoration of stability is independent of the bone defect. Thus some knees with minimal bone deficiency may require increased constraint due to the status of the soft tissues while others involving very large bone defects especially of the cavitary sort may be well managed with minimal constraint.