The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 9 , 2946 - 2951

Isolated Polyethylene Exchange With Increased Constraint Is Comparable to Component Revision TKA for Instability in Properly Selected Patients

Cooper, H. John et al.


Symptomatic instability following total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a leading cause of early failure. Most reports recommend component revision as the preferred treatment because of poor outcomes and high failure rates with isolated tibial polyethylene insert exchange (ITPIE). However, these ideas have not been tested in modern implant systems that allow insert constraint to be increased.


We retrospectively reviewed 90 consecutive patients with minimum 2-year (mean 3.7 years) follow-up who underwent revision TKA for instability at a single institution. Mean age was 62.0 years (range, 41 to 83 years), and 73% of patients were women. Forty percent of patients were treated with ITPIE when standardized preoperative and intraoperative criteria were met; 60% underwent revision of one or both components when these criteria were not met.


Patients experienced significant improvements in Knee Society (KS) knee (48.4 to 82.6; P < .001) and function (49.0 to 81.0; P < .001) scores. There were no significant differences in improvements in KS knee scores (38.1 vs 33.1; P = .18), KS function scores (36.0 vs 34.0; P = .63), or arc of motion (5° vs 6°; P = .88) between those treated with ITPIE and component revision. Failure rates were 19.4% in the ITPIE group vs 18.5% in the component revision group (odds ratio, 1.06; P = .91). Re-revision rates were significantly lower (6.3% vs 30.8%; odds ratio, 0.15; P = .004) when polyethylene insert constraint was increased.


In selected patients, ITPIE is not inferior to component revision at addressing symptomatic instability following TKA. Degree of constraint should be increased whenever possible during revision surgery for instability.

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