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A lower threshold for revision of aseptic unicompartmental vs total knee arthroplasty

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It has been hypothesized that a unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) is more likely to be revised than a total knee arthroplasty (TKA) because conversion surgery to a primary TKA is a less complicated procedure. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a lower threshold for revising a UKA compared with TKA based on Oxford Knee Scores (OKSs) and range of movement (ROM) at the time of revision.


We retrospectively reviewed 619 aseptic revision cases performed between December 1998 and October 2018. This included 138 UKAs that underwent conversion to TKA and 481 initial TKA revisions. Age, body mass index (BMI), time in situ, OKS, and ROM were available for all patients.


There were no differences between the two groups based on demographics or time to revision. The top reasons for aseptic TKA revision were loosening in 212 (44%), instability in 88 (18%), and wear in 69 (14%). UKA revision diagnoses were primarily for loosening in 50 (36%), progression of osteoarthritis (OA) in 50 (36%), and wear in 17 (12%). Out of a maximum 48 points, the mean OKS of the UKAs before revision was 23 (SD 9.3), which was significantly higher than the TKAs at 19.2 (SD 9.8; p < 0.001). UKA patients scored statistically better on nine of the 12 individual OKS questions. The UKA cases also had a larger pre-revision mean ROM (114°, SD 14.3°) than TKAs (98°, SD 25°) ; p < 0.001).


At revision, the mean UKA OKSs and ROM were significantly better than those of TKA cases. This study suggests that at our institution there is a difference in preoperative OKS between UKA and TKA at the time of revision, demonstrating a revision bias.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(6 Supple A):91–95.

Correspondence should be sent to Nancy L. Parks. E-mail:

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