Background: There is no consensus whether the interim antibiotic spacer utilized in the 2-stage exchange arthroplasty should immobilize the joint or allow for motion. The purpose of this multicenter, randomized clinical trial was to compare static and articulating spacers as part of the 2-stage exchange arthroplasty for the treatment of chronic periprosthetic joint infection complicating total knee arthroplasty as defined with use of Musculoskeletal Infection Society criteria.
The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery; May 6, 2020; 102 (9): 778
A Randomized Trial of Static and Articulating Spacers for the Treatment of Infection Following Total Knee ArthroplastyNahhas Cindy R., BS; Chalmers Peter N., MD; Parvizi Javad, MD; Sporer Scott M., MD; Berend Keith R., MD; Moric Mario, MA; Chen Antonia F., MD, MBA; Austin Matthew S., MD; Deirmengian Gregory K., MD; Morris Michael J., MD; Della Valle Craig J., MD
Methods: Sixty-eight patients undergoing 2-stage exchange arthroplasty were randomized to either a static (32 patients) or an articulating (36 patients) spacer. An a priori power analysis determined that 28 patients per group would be necessary to detect a 13° difference in range of motion between groups. Six patients were excluded after randomization, 6 died, and 7 were lost to follow-up before 2 years.
Results: Patients in the static group had a hospital length of stay that was 1 day greater than the articulating group after stage 1 (6.1 compared with 5.1 days; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.3 to 6.9 days and 4.6 to 5.6 days, respectively; p = 0.032); no other differences were noted perioperatively. At a mean of 3.5 years (range, 2.0 to 6.4 years), 49 patients were available for evaluation. The mean motion arc was 113.0° (95% CI, 108.4° to 117.6°) in the articulating spacer group, compared with 100.2° (95% CI, 94.2° to 106.1°) in the static spacer group (p = 0.001). The mean Knee Society Score was higher in the articulating spacer cohort (79.4 compared with 69.8 points; 95% CI, 72.4 to 86.3 and 63.6 to 76.1, respectively; p = 0.043). Although not significantly different with the sample size studied, static spacers were associated with a greater need for an extensile exposure at the time of reimplantation (16.7% compared with 4.0%; 95% CI, 0.6% to 38.9% and 0.5% to 26.3%, respectively; p = 0.189) and a higher rate of reoperation (25.0% compared with 8.0%; 95% CI, 9.8% to 46.7% and 1.0% to 26.0%, respectively; p = 0.138).
Conclusions: Articulating spacers provided significantly greater range of motion and higher Knee Society scores at a mean of 3.5 years. Static spacers were associated with a longer hospital stay following removal of the infected implant. When the soft-tissue envelope allows and if there is adequate osseous support, an articulating spacer is associated with improved outcomes.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.