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Risk of Total Knee Arthroplasty After Operatively Treated Tibial Plateau FractureA Matched-Population-Based Cohort Study
David Wasserstein, MD, MSc, FRCS(C)1; Patrick Henry, MD, FRCS(C)1; J. Michael Paterson, MSc2; Hans J. Kreder, MD, MPH, FRCS(C)1; Richard Jenkinson, MD, MSc, FRCS(C)3
1 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, MG-314, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5, Canada. E-mail address for D. Wasserstein: david.wasserstein@mail.utoronto.ca
2 Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, 2075 Bayview Avenue, G1-06, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5, Canada
3 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, MG-317, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5, Canada
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  • Disclosure statement for author(s): PDF

Investigation performed at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. One or more of the authors, or his or her institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. No author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2014 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2014 Jan 15;96(2):144-150. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.01691
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The aims of operative treatment of displaced tibial plateau fractures are to stabilize the injured knee to restore optimal function and to minimize the risk of posttraumatic arthritis and the eventual need for total knee arthroplasty. The purpose of our study was to define the rate of subsequent total knee arthroplasty after tibial plateau fractures in a large cohort and to compare that rate with the rate in the general population.


All patients sixteen years of age or older who had undergone surgical treatment of a tibial plateau fracture from 1996 to 2009 in the province of Ontario, Canada, were identified from administrative health databases with use of surgeon fee codes. Each member of the tibial plateau fracture cohort was matched to four individuals from the general population according to age, sex, income, and urban/rural residence. The rates of total knee arthroplasty at two, five, and ten years were compared by using time-to-event analysis. A separate Cox proportional hazards model was used to explore the influence of patient, provider, and surgical factors on the time to total knee arthroplasty.


We identified 8426 patients (48.5% female; median age, 48.9 years) who had undergone fixation of a tibial plateau fracture and matched them to 33,698 controls. The two, five, and ten-year rates of total knee arthroplasty in the plateau fracture and control cohorts were 0.32% versus 0.29%, 5.3% versus 0.82%, and 7.3% versus 1.8%, respectively (p < 0.0001). After adjustment for comorbidity, plateau fracture surgery was found to significantly increase the likelihood of total knee arthroplasty (hazard ratio [HR], 5.29 [95% confidence interval, 4.58, 6.11]; p < 0.0001). Higher rates of total knee arthroplasty were also associated with increasing age (HR, 1.03 [1.03, 1.04] per year over the age of forty-eight; p < 0.0001), bicondylar fracture (HR, 1.53 [1.26, 1.84]; p < 0.0001), and greater comorbidity (HR, 2.17 [1.70, 2.77]; p < 0.001).


Ten years after tibial plateau fracture surgery, 7.3% of the patients had had a total knee arthroplasty. This corresponds to a 5.3 times increase in likelihood compared with a matched group from the general population. Older patients and those with more severe fractures are also more likely to need total knee arthroplasty after repair of a tibial plateau fracture.

Level of Evidence: 

Prognostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Peer Review 

This article was reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief and one Deputy Editor, and it underwent blinded review by two or more outside experts. It was also reviewed by an expert in methodology and statistics. The Deputy Editor reviewed each revision of the article, and it underwent a final review by the Editor-in-Chief prior to publication. Final corrections and clarifications occurred during one or more exchanges between the author(s) and copyeditors.

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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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