The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 35, Issue 2, 401 - 406

One-Stage Sequential Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty: An Effective Treatment for Advanced Bilateral Knee Osteoarthritis Providing High Patient Satisfaction

Putnis, Sven E. et al.


The mortality and risks of bilateral total knee arthroplasty (BTKA) have been reported to be far greater than in unilateral total knee arthroplasty (UTKA). This study aimed to determine whether this remains the case using contemporary anesthetic and surgical techniques for one-stage single anesthetic sequential BTKA.


Two cohorts of 394 patients were created by propensity matching for gender, age, body mass index, American Society of Anesthesiologists grade, and Veterans Rand-12 health survey scores. Primary outcome was morbidity and mortality, with satisfaction measures using patient-reported outcome measures.


The mortality rate was low with one case after BTKA. Major complications were also low; however, a pulmonary embolism rate of 2% in BTKA patients was significantly higher than 0.3% after UTKA ( P < .05), and associated with an American Society of Anesthesiologists grade ≥3. The rate of minor complications between the 2 cohorts was comparable ( P = .95). Blood transfusions were uncommon and not significantly different between cohorts (2.5% vs 1.3%, P = .3). BTKA patients stayed in hospital a mean 1.3 days longer with greater rehabilitation requirements. At final follow-up, patient satisfaction was high with all patient-reported outcome measures significantly improved and comparable between cohorts.


BTKA is safe and effective in the majority of patients. Transfusion rates were far lower than historically reported and major complications were rare after both UTKA and BTKA. A significant increase in the rate of pulmonary embolism after BTKA was observed, especially in high risk patients. At minimum 1-year postoperatively, cohorts had the same significant clinical improvement and high level of satisfaction.

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