The Knee, ISSN: 0968-0160, Vol: 27, Issue: 6, Page: 1998-2006

How I do it: 1st stage revision TKA

A. J. Porteous
This article covers the key steps and decisions that we make when performing a 1st-stage revision Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA) at the Avon Orthopaedic Centre and includes more detailed technique and tips regarding how we make our spacers.
The first stage of a two-stage protocol should be done in a stable patient with information about the organism, and with the option of plastic surgery flap coverage if required. It should ideally be performed in the unit that is going to perform the second stage, and the operation note should document the soft-tissues, bone loss and extensor mechanism issues that will influence planning for the second stage. Nothing will make up for a bad debridement, so we focus on this as the key step for infection clearance. Infection clearance is equivalent between mobile and static spacers, but patients generally prefer having the better mobility and function of a mobile spacer. We recommend a mobile spacer, unless there is compromise to ligaments or extensor mechanism, or if bone loss is large. Whichever spacer you use, it should aim to: deliver appropriate antibiotics; allow stability, pain relief and some function and weight-bearing prior to the second stage. Doing a good technical job with the spacer is important because you do not want complications with the spacer to cause harm or necessitate a return to theatre or re-operation sooner than planned. Ideally the second stage should be performed when the surgeon & MDT team deem it appropriate clinically and when the patient is fit and ready for further surgery.

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