Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 471, Issue 8, pp 2629–2640

Better Quality of Life After Medial Versus Lateral Unicondylar Knee Arthroplasty

Clinical Research



The number of unicompartmental knee arthroplasties (UKAs) is growing worldwide. Because lateral UKAs are performed much less frequently than medial UKAs, the limited information leaves unclear whether UKAs have comparable survival and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of the lateral UKA to medial UKAs.


We therefore compared the (1) survivorship and (2) HRQoL after lateral versus medial cemented mobile-bearing UKAs and (3) determined whether there is an association of survival to modifications of surgical technique in one of three phases.


We retrospectively reviewed 558 patients who underwent mobile-bearing UKAs from 2002 to 2009. From the records we determined revision of the joint for any reason and revision for aseptic loosening. Patients reported their physical function, pain, and stiffness as measured by the WOMAC, SF-36 physical-component summary (PCS), and Lequesne knee score. Information regarding implant survival was collected for 93% of the patients. We analyzed the patients separately by three phases based on surgical changes associated with each phase (1: initial technique; 2: improved cementing; 3: additional bone resection to ensure backward sliding of the inlay without impingement). The minimum followup was 2.1 years (mean, 6 years; range, 2.1–9.8 years).


Implant survival was 88% at 9 years. We found similar implant survival rates for medial (90%) and lateral UKAs (83%). In all HRQoL measures, patients receiving a medial UKA had better mean scores compared with patients who had a lateral UKA: WOMAC physical function (23 versus 34, respectively) and pain (21 versus 34) and SF-36 PCS (41 versus 38). There were no survival differences by surgical phase.


Our observations suggest a medial UKA is associated with superior HRQoL when compared with a lateral UKA, although implant survival is similar.

Level of Evidence

Level III, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of Schleswig-Holstein Medical CenterKielGermany
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryAsklepios Westklinikum HamburgHamburgGermany

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