The Knee, ISSN: 1873-5800, Vol: 22, Issue: 3, Page: 174-9

Update on the etiology of revision TKA — Evident trends in a retrospective survey of 1449 cases

Calliess, Tilman; Ettinger, Max; Hülsmann, Natalie; Ostermeier, Sven; Windhagen, Henning


A working and complete knowledge of the different causes of dysfunction and pain after TKA is essential for the ability to correctly determine the cause of failure and to address this problem specifically.
The purpose of this study was to update the etiology of implant failure. New diagnosis and current trends should be displayed.


All TKA revisions performed in our institution between 2001 and 2010 were reviewed retrospectively. Patient demographics and the precise indication for the surgery were documented. Descriptive statistical analyses and association analyses of both the diagnosis and patient demographics were performed.


Within our collective of 1449 revision TKA a total of 40 different pathologies leading to revision surgery were identified and categorized. Overall 68.5% of the revisions were categorized aseptic, 31.5% as septic implant failure. Some recently debated diagnoses like low-grade-infection showed a high increase in incidence whereas classic failure mechanisms like polyethylene wear showed a decrease over the time.


We believe that this study successfully updates the current knowledge of different failure mechanisms in revision TKA, which have to be considered on dysfunction or pain after surgery. We were able to evaluate the clinical relevance of each pathology and could shift from implant related problems like wear to more surgical problems like instability and or malalignment over the last years. With a higher alertness to chronic low-grade-infections the incidence of infection is even increasing.

Level of evidence

Level II, economic and decision analysis.

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