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Contemporary outcomes of tibial tubercle osteotomy for revision total knee arthroplasty

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Tibial tubercle osteotomy (TTO) facilitates surgical exposure and protects the extensor mechanism during revision total knee arthroplasty (rTKA). The purpose of this study was to determine the rates of bony union, complications, and reoperations following TTO during rTKA, to assess the functional outcomes of rTKA with TTO at two years’ minimum follow-up, and to identify the risk factors of failure.


Between January 2010 and September 2020, 695 rTKAs were performed and data were entered into a prospective database. Inclusion criteria were rTKAs with concomitant TTO, without extensor mechanism allograft, and a minimum of two years’ follow-up. A total of 135 rTKAs were included, with a mean age of 65 years (SD 9.0) and a mean BMI of 29.8 kg/m2 (SD 5.7). The most frequent indications for revision were infection (50%; 68/135), aseptic loosening (25%; 34/135), and stiffness (13%; 18/135). Patients had standardized follow-up at six weeks, three months, six months, and annually thereafter. Complications and revisions were evaluated at the last follow-up. Functional outcomes were assessed using the Knee Society Score (KSS) and range of motion.


The mean follow-up was 51 months (SD 26; 24 to 121). Bony union was confirmed in 95% of patients (128/135) at a mean of 3.4 months (SD 2.7). The complication rate was 15% (20/135), consisting of nine tibial tubercle fracture displacements (6.7%), seven nonunions (5%), two delayed unions, one tibial fracture, and one wound dehiscence. Seven patients (5%) required eight revision procedures (6%): three bone grafts, three osteosyntheses, one extensor mechanism allograft, and one wound revision. The functional scores and flexion were significantly improved after surgery: mean KSS knee, 48.8 (SD 17) vs 79.6 (SD 20; p < 0.001); mean KSS function, 37.6 (SD 21) vs 70.2 (SD 30; p < 0.001); mean flexion, 81.5° (SD 33°) vs 93° (SD 29°; p = 0.004). Overall, 98% of patients (n = 132) had no extension deficit. The use of hinge implants was a significant risk factor for tibial tubercle fracture (p = 0.011).


TTO during rTKA was an efficient procedure to improve knee exposure with a high union rate, but had significant specific complications. Functional outcomes were improved at mid term.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2023;105-B(10):1078–1085.

Correspondence should be sent to Cécile Batailler. E-mail:

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