The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 10, 2347 - 2350

Unrecognized Osteoporosis Is Common in Patients With a Well-Functioning Total Knee Arthroplasty

Bernatz, James T. et al.


Peri-prosthetic fractures after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) are associated with poorer outcomes and high costs. We hypothesize that osteoporosis is under-recognized in the TKA population. The purpose of this study is to report osteoporosis prevalence in a healthy cohort of patients with well-functioning TKA and to compare prevalence between males and females.


This study is a cross-sectional study of 30 adults (15 males/15 females) aged 59-80 years without known bone health issues who volunteered to undergo routine dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry 2-5 years (average 3.2 ± 0.8) after primary unilateral TKA. These data plus clinical risk factors were used to estimate fracture risk via the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool and skeletal status (normal, osteopenic, osteoporotic) was determined based on the World Health Organization definition. The National Osteoporosis Foundation criteria for treatment were applied to all patients.


Six of 30 (20%) patients had T-score ≤ −2.5. Eighteen of 30 (60%) patients had T-score between −1 and −2.5 and 6 (20%) patients had T-score ≥ −1. Five patients with normal or osteopenic bone mineral density (BMD) had occult vertebral fractures. Eleven of 30 (36.7%) patients met National Osteoporosis Foundation criteria for pharmacologic treatment.


The prevalence of occult osteoporosis meeting treatment guidelines after TKA is substantial in this sample (36.7%). BMD and osteoporosis prevalence are similar between men and women. This underappreciated prevalence of osteoporosis may contribute to peri-prosthetic fracture risk. Arthroplasty surgeons and bone health specialists must be aware of post-operative changes in bone density. These data support the further study of post-operative osteoporosis and consideration of routine BMD screening after TKA.

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