The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 7 , 2203 - 2209

Revision of Unicompartmental to Total Knee Arthroplasty: Does the Unicompartmental Implant (Metal-Backed vs All-Polyethylene) Impact the Total Knee Arthroplasty?

Scott, Chloe E.H. et al.


The aim of this study is to investigate differences in implant requirement, outcomes, and re-revision when total knee arthroplasty (TKA) was performed following unicompartmental knee arthroplasties (UKAs) with metal-backed (MB) compared to all-polyethylene (AP) tibial components.


Retrospective study of 60 UKAs converted to 60 TKAs at mean 7.3 years (0.1 to 17) after implantation in 55 patients (mean age, 64 [49-83]; 44% male): 44 MB and 16 AP. TKA implant requirement was investigated in addition to mode of failure, Oxford Knee Score, and TKA survival at mean 5.4 years (0.5 to 17).


Progression of osteoarthritis was the commonest mode of failure in MB UKAs (P = .03) and unexplained pain in AP (P = .011) where revisions were performed earlier (4.8 ± 3.2 vs 8.2 ± 4.5, P = .012). In 56 of 60 (93%) cases, unconstrained TKA implants were used. The use of standard cruciate-retaining TKAs without augments or stems was less likely following MB UKA compared to AP (12 of 38 [32%] vs 10/14 [71%], P = .013). Specifically MB UKA implants were associated with more tibial stem use (P = .04) and more use of cruciate-substituting polyethylene (P = .05). There was no difference in the use of constrained implants. Multivariate analysis showed tibial resection depth to predict stem requirement. Seven were re-revised giving 7-year TKA survival: from MB UKA 70.3 (95% CI, 47.0 to 93.6) and from AP UKA 87.5 (95% CI, 64.6 to 100; P = .191).


MB UKA implants increase the chances of a complex revision requiring tibial stems and cruciate substitution but reduce the chances of early revision compared to AP UKA which often fail early with pain.

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