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Surgical Treatment of Early Wound Complications Following Primary Total Knee Arthroplasty
Daniel D. Galat, MD1; Scott C. McGovern, MD1; Dirk R. Larson, MS1; Jeffrey R. Harrington, MA1; Arlen D. Hanssen, MD1; Henry D. Clarke, MD2
1 Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street S.W., Rochester, MN 55905
2 Mayo Clinic Arizona, 5777 East Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, AZ 85054. E-mail address: clarke.henry@mayo.edu
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Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
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Investigation performed at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2009 Jan 01;91(1):48-54. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.G.01371
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Background: Wound-healing problems are a known complication after primary total knee arthroplasty. However, little is known about the clinical outcomes for patients who require surgical treatment of these early wound-healing problems. The purpose of the present study was to determine the incidence, risk factors, and long-term sequelae of early wound complications requiring surgical treatment.

Methods: The total joint registry at our institution was reviewed for the period from 1981 to 2004. All knees with early wound complications necessitating surgical treatment within thirty days after the index total knee arthroplasty were identified. The cumulative probabilities for the later development of deep infection and major subsequent surgery were determined. A case-control study in which these patients were matched with an equal number of controls was performed to attempt to identify risk factors for the development of early superficial wound complications requiring surgical intervention.

Results: From 1981 to 2004, 17,784 primary total knee arthroplasties were performed at our institution. Fifty-nine knees were identified as having early wound complications necessitating surgical treatment within thirty days after the index arthroplasty, for a rate of return to surgery of 0.33%. For knees with early surgical treatment of wound complications, the two-year cumulative probabilities of major subsequent surgery (component resection, muscle flap coverage, or amputation) and deep infection were 5.3% and 6.0%, respectively. In contrast, for knees without early surgical intervention for the treatment of wound complications, the two-year cumulative probabilities were 0.6% and 0.8%, respectively (p < 0.001 for both comparisons). A history of diabetes mellitus was identified as being significantly associated with the development of early wound complications requiring surgical intervention.

Conclusions: Patients requiring early surgical treatment for wound-healing problems after primary total knee arthroplasty are at significantly increased risk for further complications, including deep infection and/or major subsequent surgery, specifically, resection arthroplasty, amputation, or muscle flap coverage. These results emphasize the importance of obtaining primary wound-healing after total knee arthroplasty.

Level of Evidence: Prognostic Level III. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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