Knee arthrodesis with a long intramedullary nail as limb salvage for complex periprosthetic infections
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Periprosthetic infection following total knee arthroplasty is a devastating complication, which is not always satisfactorily resolved by revision surgery. Arthrodesis is a salvage alternative to above-knee amputation or permanent resection arthroplasty. Fixation options include internal compression plating, external fixation, and intramedullary nails.
We retrospectively reviewed twelve consecutive cases (9 males, 3 females; mean age, 67 years) of knee arthrodesis with a long intramedullary nail, performed at a single institution between 2003 and 2014. Desired outcomes were the ability to mobilize without pain, solid radiographic fusion, and the eradication of infection.
Mean follow-up was 48.5 months (range, 9–120 months). Eleven patients (92 %) demonstrated stable fusion, ten patients (83 %) were ambulatory without pain, and ten patients (83 %) remained without infection at most recent follow-up. Eight patients (67 %) achieved union at an average of 12 months; three required repeat procedures, achieving union at an average of 9 months. There was a significant difference (P < 0.01) between the numbers of previous operations amongst the eight patients who initially achieved union (mean, 3.25) and three who subsequently required repeat procedures (mean, 8.33).
In contrast to similar studies, we performed a single-stage exchange where possible, while comparable ambulatory and fusion rates were observed. Numerous previous attempts at revision arthroplasty, co-morbidities, and infections with highly resistant organisms have been associated with further complications. Although technically challenging, knee arthrodesis with a long intramedullary nail offers an acceptable limb salvage procedure for carefully selected patients with complex periprosthetic infections.
KeywordsKnee arthroplasty Revision Periprosthetic infection Arthrodesis Intramedullary nail Limb salvage
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no financial disclosures or conflicts of interest to declare.
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