Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: July 2015 - Volume 473 - Issue 7 - p 2327–2333 doi: 10.1007/s11999-015-4219-8 Clinical Research

Bicruciate-retaining Total Knee Replacement Provides Satisfactory Function and Implant Survivorship at 23 Years

Pritchett, James, W., MD1,a

Background One of the goals of a TKA is to approximate the function of a normal knee. Preserving the natural ligaments might provide a method of restoring close to normal function. Sacrifice of the ACL is common and practical during a TKA. However, this ligament is functional in more than 60% of patients undergoing a TKA and kinematic studies support the concept of bicruciate-retaining (that is, ACL-preserving) TKA; however, relatively few studies have evaluated patients treated with bicruciate-retaining TKA implants.


Questions/purposes I asked: (1) what is the long-term (minimum 20-year) survivorship, (2) what are the functional results, and (3) what are the reasons for revision of bicruciate-retaining knee arthroplasty prostheses?


Methods From January 1989 to September 1992, I performed 639 total knee replacements in 537 patients. Of these, 489 were performed in 390 patients using a bicruciate-retaining, minimally constrained device. During the period in question, this knee prosthesis was used for all patients observed intraoperatively to have an intact, functional ACL with between 15° varus and 15° valgus joint deformity. There were 234 women and 156 men with a mean age at surgery of 65 years (range, 42-84 years) and a primary diagnosis of osteoarthritis in 89%. The patella was resurfaced in all knees. The mean followup was 23 years (range, 20-24 years). At the time of this review, 199 (51%) patients had died and 31 (8%) patients were lost to followup, leaving 160 (41%) patients (214 knees) available for review. Component survivorship was determined by competing-risks analysis and Kaplan Meier survivorship analysis with revision for any reason as the primary endpoint. Patients were evaluated every 2 years to assess ROM, joint laxity, knee stability, and to determine American Knee Society scores.


Results The Kaplan-Meier survivorship was 89% (95% CI, 82%-93%) at 23 years with revision for any reason as the endpoint. Competing-risks survivorship was 94% (95% CI, 91%%-96 %) at 23 years. At followup, the mean age of the patients was 84 years (range, 63-101 years), the mean flexion was 117° (range, 90°-130°), the mean American Knee Society score improved from a preoperative mean of 42 (range, 26-49) to 91 (range, 61-100; p < .001). Twenty-two knees in 21 patients (5.6%) were revised, most commonly because of polyethylene wear.


Conclusions ACL sacrifice may be an unnecessary concession during TKA. This study found satisfactory survivorship and function after more than 20 years of use for patients receiving a bicruciate-retaining TKA implant. A TKA that preserves cruciate ligaments provides a stable, well-functioning knee with a low likelihood of revision at long-term followup. Retaining both cruciate ligaments during knee arthroplasty is an attractive concept that is worth considering.


Level of Evidence Level IV, therapeutic study.

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