BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2019 20:47

Distal femoral reconstruction following failed total knee arthroplasty is accompanied with risk for complication and reduced joint function

Klemens Vertesich, Stephan E. Puchner, Kevin Staats, Markus Schreiner, Christian Hipfl, Bernd Kubista, Johannes Holinka and Reinhard Windhager


Substantial bone loss following failed total knee arthroplasty (TKA) represents a major challenge in revision arthroplasty, that can require distal femoral reconstruction (DFR). In this study, we aimed to assess the clinical outcome and the complication frequencies of individuals who underwent DFR with modular megaprostheses. Additionally, we aimed to compare functional outcome measures after DFR in these sophisticated cases to an age-matched control group of total knee prostheses to quantify the potential loss of function.


A retrospective chart review of 30 consecutive patients after DFR from 1997 to 2017 with a mean age of 74.38 years (± 10.1) was performed. Complications were classified according to the Henderson classification. Knee Society Score (KSS) was calculated and range of motion (ROM) was assessed.


Thirteen (43.3%) patients had at least one complication requiring revision surgery. Revision-free survival was 74.8% at one year, 62.5% at three and 40.9% at 10 years post-op. Soft-tissue failure complications were found in three (10.0%) patients, aseptic loosening in four (13.3%) patients, structural failure in one (3.3%) patient and infection in eight (26.6%) patients. Of those with infection, five (16.6%) experienced ongoing prosthetic joint infection and three (10.0%) developed new infection after distal femur reconstruction. Patients with DFR achieved 69.3% of KSS pain score, 23.1% KSS function score and 76.2% of ROM compared to patients with primary TKA.


DFR after failed TKA represents a treatment procedure with high risk for complication in this particular group. Despite the prospect of rapid postoperative mobilization, reduced functionality, range of motion and mobilization have to be considered when choosing this treatment option.

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