Medial unicompartmental knee arthroplasties (UKAs) have good clinical outcomes but implant survival is inferior to that of total knee arthroplasties (TKAs). Conversion to a TKA is a reliable option when UKA fails. However, there is controversy regarding these conversions. The aim of this study was to analyze the survival of TKAs converted from UKAs when compared with both primary and revision TKAs.
On the basis of registrations in the Danish Knee Arthroplasty Registry from 1997 to 2017, 1,012 TKAs converted from UKAs were compared with 73,819 primary TKAs and 2,572 revision TKAs. The primary outcome was the risk of revision. Secondarily, the study analyzed the influence of different implants, the indication for the UKA conversion, and surgical volume on the survival of TKA converted from UKA. Third, the study compared the indications for revision.
The converted UKAs were mainly mobile-bearing (85%) and, at the time of conversion, the patients were younger (mean [standard deviation], 66 ± 10 years) and more were Charnley class A (55%) compared with patients with primary TKA (70 ± 9 years and 35% class A) or revision TKA (70 ± 10 years and 42% class A) (all p < 0.001). The survival of TKAs converted from UKAs was comparable with that of revision TKAs (p = 0.42) and significantly inferior to the survival of primary TKAs (p < 0.001). This relationship was unaffected by differences between the groups, with an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.94 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.74 to 1.19) compared with revision TKAs and 3.00 (95% CI: 2.47 to 3.66) compared with primary TKAs. The survival of TKA converted from UKA was unaffected by differences in the conversion implants (all p ≥ 0.47), experience with revision surgery (all p ≥ 0.06), and the indications for the UKA-to-TKA conversion (all p ≥ 0.27). Instability (26%) and unexplained pain (13%) were more frequent indications for revisions of TKA converted from UKA (p < 0.001).
TKA converted from medial UKA has a 3-fold higher risk of revision when compared with primary TKA. The implant survival resembled that of revision TKA but with a higher prevalence of unexplained pain and instability.
Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level III
. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.