The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 36, Issue 2, 488 - 494

Increased Operative Time Impacts Rates of Short-Term Complications After Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty

Cregar, William M. et al.


Previous evidence has demonstrated an exacerbating effect of increased operative time on short-term complications in total joint arthroplasty. While the same relationship may be expected for unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA), supporting evidence remains sparse. The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of operative time on short-term complication rates after UKA and determine a critical threshold in operative times after which complications may increase.


The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project was queried from 2007 to 2018 to identify 11,633 UKA procedures that were included in the final analysis. The effect of operative time on complications within 30 days was evaluated using multivariate logistic regression models. Receiver operating characteristics curves and spline regression models were used to identify critical thresholds in operative time that increase the likelihood of short-term complications.


Longer operative times (in minutes) were associated with higher rates of surgical site infection (90.4 ± 26.7 vs 84.8 ± 25.5, P = .003), blood transfusions (94.9 ± 28.6 vs 84.9 ± 25.5, P = .007), as well as reoperation rates (90.8 ± 27.9 vs 84.9 ± 25.5, P = .01), extended hospital length of stay (93.4 ± 29.8 vs 84.5 ± 25.2, P < .001), and mortality (110.4 ± 35.5 vs 84.9 ± 25.5, P = .008). Following multivariate logistic regression, operative time was found to independently predict increased surgical site infection, blood transfusion, myocardial infarction, extended length of stay, and mortality (odds ratio: 1.09 – 1.45, CI: 1.01 – 1.91, all P values <0.02). Receiver operating characteristics curves found an increase in mortality risk during the 30-day postoperative period after 88.5 minutes of operative time, a finding supported by spline regression plots.


The present study found a positive correlation between increased operative times and short-term postoperative complication rates after UKA. Despite a statistically significant association with increasing operative time, odds ratios of reported complications are relatively low.

Download article