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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2021 Nov 30. doi: 10.1097/CORR.0000000000002023. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Approximately one-fourth of TKAs will be performed in patients 55 years or younger within the next decade. Postoperative outcomes for younger knee arthroplasty patients were systematically reviewed in 2011; however, numerous studies evaluating young TKA and unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) patients have been reported in the past decade. Therefore, to better counsel this growing population of young patients undergoing knee arthroplasty, an updated understanding of their expected postoperative outcomes is warranted.
QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: In this systematic review, we evaluated (1) all-cause survivorship, (2) reasons for revision, (3) patient-reported outcomes, and (4) return to physical activity and sport in patients 55 years or younger undergoing primary TKA or UKA.
METHODS: A comprehensive search of PubMed, Medline, SportDiscus, and CINAHL was performed to identify all original studies evaluating outcomes after primary knee arthroplasty for young patients (55 years of age or younger) from inception until March 2021. The following keywords were used: knee, arthroplasty, replacement, pain, function, revision, survivorship, sport, physical activity, and return to play. Only original research studies that were related to knee arthroplasty and reported postoperative outcomes with a minimum 1-year follow-up for patients 55 years or younger were included. Unpublished materials, publications not available in English, and studies with a primary diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis were excluded. The Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS) score was used to evaluate the study quality of case series and comparative studies, while the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and the Jadad scale were used for randomized studies. The primary outcomes of interest for this study were all-cause survivorship rate, reasons for all-cause revision, Knee Society and Knee Society Function scores (minimum clinically important difference [MCID] 7.2 and 9.7, respectively), WOMAC scores (MCID 10), Tegner scores (no reported MCID for knee arthroplasty), and return to physical activity or sport. Knee Society and Knee Society Function scores range from 0 to 100, with scores from 85 to 100 considered excellent and below 60 representing poor outcomes. All-cause survivorship rate and reasons for revision were both reported in 17 total studies. Knee Society scores were presented in 19 and Knee Society Function scores were reported in 18 included studies. WOMAC scores and Tegner scores were each found in four included studies, and return to physical activity and return to sport analyses were performed in seven studies. Overall, 21 TKA studies and five UKA studies were included in this analysis, featuring 3095 TKA knees and 482 UKA knees.
RESULTS: Kaplan-Meier estimates of all-cause survivorship ranged from 90% to 98% at 5 to 10 years of follow-up after TKA and from 84% to 99% (95% CI 93% to 98%) at 10 years to 20 years post-TKA. All-cause UKA survivorship was 90% at 10 years and 75% at 19 years in the largest Kaplan-Meier estimate of survivorship for patients younger than 55 who underwent UKA. Common reasons for revision in TKA patients were polyethylene wear/loosening, aseptic tibial loosening, and infection, and in UKA patients the common reasons for revision were knee pain, aseptic loosening, progression of knee osteoarthritis, and polyethylene wear/loosening. Knee Society scores ranged from 85 to 98 for 5-year to 10-year follow-up and ranged from 86 to 97 at 10-year to 20-year follow-up in TKA patients. Knee Society Function scores ranged from 70 to 95 for 5-year to 10-year follow-up and ranged from 79 to 86 at 10-year to 20-year follow-up. Return to physical activity and sport was reported variably; however, most patients younger than 55 have improved physical activity levels after knee arthroplasty relative to preoperative levels.
CONCLUSION: Although all-cause survivorship rates were frequently above 90% and patient-reported outcome scores were generally in the good to excellent range, several studies reported long-term survivorship rates from 70% to 85% and fair patient-reported outcome scores, which must be factored into any preoperative counseling with patients. We could not control for surgeon volume in this report, and prior research suggests that increasing volume is associated with less frequent complications; in addition, the studies we included were variably affected by selection bias, transfer bias, and assessment bias, which makes it likely that the findings of our review represent best-case estimates. To limit the frequency of revision in patients younger than 55 years undergoing TKA, clinicians should be cautious of polyethylene wear/loosening, aseptic tibial loosening, and infection, while knee pain and progression of knee osteoarthritis are also common reasons for revision in patients younger than 55 undergoing UKA. Further research should isolate younger knee arthroplasty patients and evaluate postoperative activity levels while accounting for preoperative physical activity and sport participation.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV, therapeutic study.