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Reliable outcomes and survivorship of primary total knee arthroplasty for osteonecrosis of the knee

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Knee osteonecrosis in advanced stages may lead to joint degeneration. Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) for osteonecrosis has traditionally been associated with suboptimal results. We analyzed outcomes of contemporary TKAs for osteonecrosis, with particular emphasis on: survivorship free from aseptic loosening, any revision, and any reoperation plus the clinical outcomes, complications, and radiological results.

Patients and Methods

In total, 156 patients undergoing 167 primary TKAs performed for osteonecrosis between 2004 and 2014 at a single institution were reviewed. The mean age at index TKA was 61 years (14 to 93) and the mean body mass index (BMI) was 30 kg/m2 (18 to 51) The mean follow-up was six years (2 to 12). A total of 110 TKAs (66%) were performed for primary osteonecrosis and 57 TKAs (34%) for secondary osteonecrosis. Overall, 15 TKAs (9%) had tibial stems, while 12 TKAs (7%) had femoral stems. Posterior-stabilized designs were used in 147 TKAs (88%) of TKAs. Bivariate Cox regression analysis was conducted to identify risk factors for revision and reoperation.


Survivorship free from aseptic loosening, any revision, and any reoperation at ten years was 97% (95% confidence interval (CI) 93 to 100), 93% (95% CI 85 to 100), and 82% (95% CI 69 to 93), respectively. No factors, including age, sex, BMI, primary versus secondary osteonecrosis, stem utilization, and constraint, were identified as risk factors for reoperation. Four TKAs (2%) underwent revision, most commonly for tibial aseptic loosening (n = 2). Excluding revisions and reoperations, there was a total of 11 complications (7%), with the most common being a manipulation under anaesthesia (six TKAs, 4%). Mean Knee Society Scores (Knee component) significantly improved from 57 (32 to 87) preoperatively to 91 (49 to 100) postoperatively (p < 0.001). No unrevised TKAs had complete radiolucent lines or radiological evidence of loosening.


Contemporary cemented TKAs with selective stem utilization for osteonecrosis resulted in durable survivorship, a low complication rate, and reliable improvement in clinical outcomes.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2019;101-B:1356–1361.

Correspondence should be sent to M. P. Abdel; email:

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