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J Arthroplasty. 2016 Aug;31(8):1649-1653.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2016.02.001. Epub 2016 Feb 13.

Total Knee Arthroplasty for Posttraumatic Osteoarthritis: Is it Time for a New Classification?

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Division of Adult Reconstruction, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, NYU Langone Medical Center, Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, New York.



Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is often the best answer for end-stage, posttraumatic osteoarthritis after intra-articular and periarticular fractures about the knee. Although TKA in this setting is often considered more technically demanding, outcomes are typically worse for patients. This study examines the intraoperative differences and 30-day outcomes in posttraumatic vs primary TKA cohorts.


Patients undergoing TKA were selected from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database from 2010 to 2013. Patients were stratified on the basis of concurrent procedures and administrative codes indicating posttraumatic diagnoses. Thirty-day complications were recorded, and multivariate analyses were performed to determine whether posttraumatic arthritis was a risk factor for poor outcomes.


A total of 67,675 primary and 674 posttraumatic TKAs were identified. Posttraumatic TKA patients were on average younger and healthier than the primary TKA population. The posttraumatic TKA group had higher rates of superficial surgical site infections and bleeding requiring transfusion. History of posttraumatic knee osteoarthritis was found to be an independent risk factor for prolonged operative time, increased length of hospital stay, and 30-day hospital readmission.


We have demonstrated increased intraoperative times, heightened transfusion requirements and surgical site infections, and higher readmission rates after conversion TKA in the posttraumatic cohort. In contrast to total hip arthroplasty, current diagnosis and reimbursement schemes do not differentiate posttraumatic patients from primary osteoarthritis groups undergoing TKA. We believe that classification reform would improve medical documentation and improve patient care.


ACS NSQIP; conversion total knee arthroplasty; conversion total knee replacement; posttraumatic osteoarthritis; total knee replacement

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