Background: Typically a hinged or condylar constrained prosthesis is recommended for total knee arthroplasty in a fused knee, to substitute for the absent or deficient collateral ligaments. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the stability and clinical results after the use of a posterior stabilized prosthesis in the conversion of a fused knee to a total knee arthroplasty.
Methods: Thirty-six patients (thirty-six knees) with a mean age of 39.2 years underwent conversion of a fused knee to a total knee arthroplasty with a posterior stabilized prosthesis. The mean duration of ankylosis had been 24.5 years. Clinical and radiographic evaluation was carried out preoperatively; at six weeks and three, six, and twelve months postoperatively; and annually thereafter. The mean duration of follow-up was 7.7 years.
Results: The mean preoperative Hospital for Special Surgery knee score of 60 points improved to 83.2 points at the final follow-up examination. Twenty-two knees were pain-free, and the remaining fourteen were mildly painful after prolonged walking. The mean amount of active flexion in the entire group was 77.7°. The extension lag in the entire group averaged 12.5°. Complications included necrosis of the skin edges in eighteen knees (50%), a rupture of the quadriceps tendon in two patients, and a pyogenic infection in two. No prosthesis required revision because of clinical or radiographic loosening.
Conclusions: We believe that when the soft-tissue sleeves in a previously fused knee are carefully preserved intraoperatively, they can provide adequate stability after total knee arthroplasty with a posterior stabilized prosthesis. Therefore, we believe that use of that type of prosthesis is a reasonable alternative to the use of a more constrained implant in the treatment of this condition.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study, Level IV (case series [no, or historical, control group]). See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.