Medium-term survival and clinical and radiological results in high tibial osteotomy: Factors for failure and comparison with unicompartmental arthroplasty

Introduction: High tibial osteotomy (HTO) and unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) are two surgical solutions for isolated medial tibiofemoral osteoarthritis. Results depend on preoperative criteria and patient selection, but also on postoperative factors: implant positioning, limb alignment. Factors for HTO survival need identifying to reduce risk of failure requiring total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

Hypothesis: Age, gender, weight, osteoarthritis grade, degree of correction, type of osteotomy, technique and intraoperative complications impact HTO survival.

Material and method: As part of a symposium of the French Society of Arthroscopy (SFA), a multicenter retrospective study compared 2 series. The HTO series comprised 488 patients: 153 female (31.4%); mean age, 55.1 years; mean weight, 83.1kg; mean body-mass index (BMI), 28.6. The UKA series comprised 284 patients: 172 female (60.6%); mean age, 64.1 years; mean weight, 75.3kg; mean BMI, 27.6. The main endpoint was comparative survival at 5, 8 and 10 years; secondary endpoints comprised pre- and post-operative hip-knee-ankle (HKA) angle, mechanical femoral angle (mFA) and mechanical tibial angle (mTA), surgical technique, satisfaction, time to and level of return to work, WOMAC and Tegner scores and complications rates. The significance threshold was set at p<0.05; 95% confidence intervals were calculated.

Results: Age>54 years, male gender, BMI>25, medial tibiofemoral wear severity Ahlback ≥3, ≥0.9° varus joint component, HKA correction<8°, postoperative HKA<180° and hinge fracture were significantly associated with poorer survival. There was no impact of type of osteotomy, navigation assistance or postoperative HKA 183-186°. Ten-year survival was 74.3% for HTO and 71% for UKA (non-significant); however, survival curves crossed at 6 years.

Conclusion: HTO showed survival and functional results comparable to those of UKA in selected patients when target limb alignment correction was achieved. The present study determined selection criteria. A predictive score for results of either procedure would facilitate decision-making.

Level of evidence: IV, retrospective cohort study.

Keywords: High tibial osteotomy; Prognostic factors; Survival; Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty.