Revision Total Knee Arthroplasty in the Young Patient: Is There Trouble on the Horizon?
Vinay K. Aggarwal, MD; Nitin Goyal, MD; Gregory Deirmengian, MD; Ashwin Rangavajulla, BS; Javad Parvizi, MD, FRCS; Matthew S. Austin, MD


Background: The volume of total knee arthroplasties, including revisions, in young patients is expected to rise. The objective of this study was to compare the reasons for revision and re-revision total knee arthroplasties between younger and older patients, to determine the survivorship of revision total knee arthroplasties, and to identify risk factors associated with failure of revision in patients fifty years of age or younger.

Methods: Perioperative data were collected for all total knee arthroplasty revisions performed from August 1999 to December 2009. A cohort of eighty-four patients who were fifty years of age or younger and a cohort of eighty-four patients who were sixty to seventy years of age were matched for the date of surgery, sex, and body mass index (BMI). The etiology of failure of the index total knee arthroplasty and all subsequent revision total knee arthroplasties was determined. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were used to evaluate the timing of the primary failure and the survivorship of revision knee procedures. Finally, multivariate Cox regression was used to calculate risk ratios for the influence of age, sex, BMI, and the reason for the initial revision on survival of the revision total knee arthroplasty.

Results: The most common reason for the initial revision was aseptic loosening (27%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 19% to 38%) in the younger cohort and infection (30%; 95% CI = 21% to 40%) in the older cohort. Of the twenty-five second revisions in younger patients, 32% (95% CI = 17% to 52%) were for infection, whereas 50% (95% CI = 32% to 68%) of the twenty-six second revisions in the older cohort were for infection. Cumulative six-year survival rates were 71.0% (95% CI = 60.7% to 83.0%) and 66.1% (95% CI = 54.5% to 80.2%) for revisions in the younger and older cohorts, respectively. Infection and a BMI of ≥40 kg/m2 posed the greatest risk of failure of revision procedures, with risk ratios of 2.731 (p = 0.006) and 2.934 (p = 0.009), respectively.

Conclusions: The survivorship of knee revisions in younger patients is a cause of concern, and the higher rates of aseptic failure in these patients may be related to unique demands that they place on the reconstruction. Improvement in implant fixation and treatment of infection when these patients undergo revision total knee arthroplasty is needed.

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


  • Investigation performed at the Rothman Institute of Orthopaedics at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • A commentary by Kelly G. Vince, MD, is linked to the online version of this article at

  • 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.

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