Scientific Article   |    
Poor Outcomes of Isolated Tibial Insert Exchange and Arthrolysis for the Management of Stiffness Following Total Knee Arthroplasty
George C. Babis, MD; Robert T. Trousdale, MD; Mark W. Pagnano, MD; Bernard F. Morrey, MD
View Disclosures and Other Information
Investigation performed at the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota

J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2001 Oct 01;83(10):1534-1536
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case


Background: Severe stiffness after total knee arthroplasty is a debilitating problem. In patients with securely fixed and appropriately aligned components, arthrolysis of adhesions and exchange to a thinner tibial polyethylene insert may appear to be a reasonable and logical solution. We reviewed our experience with this procedure to determine its efficacy.

Methods: From 1992 through 1998, seven knees with marked stiffness after total knee arthroplasty were treated at our institution with arthrolysis of adhesions and conversion to a thinner tibial polyethylene insert. Only patients in whom the total knee prosthesis was well aligned, well fixed, and not associated with infection were included. There were five women and two men with a mean age at revision of sixty-one years (range, thirty-eight to seventy-four years). The average time to revision was twelve months, and the mean arc of motion prior to revision was 38.6° (range, 15° to 60°). The duration of follow-up after the insert exchange averaged 4.2 years (range, two to eight years).

Results: Mean Knee Society pain and function scores changed from 44 and 36.4 points preoperatively to 39.6 and 46 points at the time of final follow-up. Two knees were rerevised, one because of infection and the other because of aseptic loosening of the components. The five remaining knees were painful and stiff at the time of final follow-up. Four of these five knees were severely painful, and one knee was moderately and occasionally painful. The mean arc of motion of these five knees was 58° (range, 40° to 70°) at the time of final follow-up.

Conclusion: Isolated tibial insert exchange, arthrolysis, and débridement failed to provide a viable solution to the difficult and poorly understood problem of knee stiffness in a group of carefully selected patients following total knee arthroplasty. We therefore have little enthusiasm for the continued use of this strategy.

Figures in this Article
    Sign In to Your Personal ProfileSign In To Access Full Content
    Not a Subscriber?
    Get online access for 30 days for $35
    New to JBJS?
    Sign up for a full subscription to both the print and online editions
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities, to comment on public articles, or to sign up for alerts.
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities
    Have a subscription to the print edition?
    Current subscribers to The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in either the print or quarterly DVD formats receive free online access to JBJS.org.
    Forgot your password?
    Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.

    Forgot your username or need assistance? Please contact customer service at subs@jbjs.org. If your access is provided
    by your institution, please contact you librarian or administrator for username and password information. Institutional
    administrators, to reset your institution's master username or password, please contact subs@jbjs.org


    Accreditation Statement
    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.
    CME Activities Associated with This Article
    Submit a Comment
    Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
    Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discretion of JBJS editorial staff.

    * = Required Field
    (if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
    Example: John Doe

    Related Content
    The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
    JBJS Case Connector
    Topic Collections
    Related Audio and Videos
    PubMed Articles
    Clinical Trials
    Readers of This Also Read...
    JBJS Jobs
    Ohio - OhioHealth Research and Innovation Institute (OHRI)
    Pennsylvania - Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
    Pennsylvania - Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center