Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: January 2012 - Volume 470 - Issue 1 - p 220–227 doi: 10.1007/s11999-011-2095-4 Symposium: Papers Presented at the Annual Meetings of The Knee Society

Minimizing Dynamic Knee Spacer Complications in Infected Revision Arthroplasty

Johnson, Aaron, J., MD1; Sayeed, Siraj, A., MD1; Naziri, Qais, MD1; Khanuja, Harpal, S., MD1; Mont, Michael, A., MD1, a

Background Deep infections are devastating complications of TKA often treated with component explantation, intravenous antibiotics, and antibiotic-impregnated cement spacers. Historically, the spacers have been static, which may limit patients’ ROM and ability to walk. Several recent reports describe dynamic spacers, which may allow for improved ROM and make later reimplantation easier. However, because of several dynamic spacer problems noted at our institution, we wanted to assess their associated failures, reinfection rates, and functionality.


Questions/purposes We therefore asked whether there were differences between static and dynamic spacers in (1) reinfection rates, (2) complications directly related to the spacer, and (3) final patient functionality as measured by Knee Society objective scores and ROM.


Patients and Methods We retrospectively identified 111 patients (115 knees) with 34 dynamic spacers (30%) and 81 static spacers (70%). Reinfection rates, complications requiring additional surgery, and final Knee Society scores and ROM were collected for all patients.


Results Reinfection rates were comparable between groups. In the dynamic spacer cohort, there were four complications; however, these could all be explained by surgical technical errors or patient weightbearing compliance. All patients with failed results eventually underwent successful two-stage exchange arthroplasty. Final Knee Society scores and ROM were also similar between groups.


Conclusions Reinfection rates, Knee Society scores, and ROM were comparable between the static and dynamic spacer groups. Meticulous surgical technique and proper patient selection should be used to avoid any complications with any spacers.


Level of Evidence Level III, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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