Mechanisms of bone loss in revision total knee arthroplasty and current treatment options

Abhimanyu Monu Jabbal, Hamish Simpson, Phillip Jonathan Walmsley

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Primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is an effective treatment which is increasing in use for both elderly and younger patients. With the overall increasing life span of the general population, the rate of revision TKA is projected to increase significantly over the coming decades. Analyses from the national joint registry of England and Wales support this prediction with an increase in primary TKA of 117% and an increase in revision TKA of 332% being forecast by 2030. Bone loss presents a challenge in revision TKA so an understanding of the aetiology and principles behind this is essential for the surgeon undertaking revision. The purpose of this article is to review the causes of bone loss in revision TKA, discuss the mechanisms of each cause and discuss the possible treatment options.

The Anderson Orthopaedic Research Institute (AORI) classification and zonal classification of bone loss are commonly used in assessing bone loss in pre-operative planning and will be used in this review.
The recent literature was searched to find advantages and limitations of each commonly used method to address bone loss at revision TKA. Studies with the highest number or patients and longest follow-up period were selected as significant. Search terms were: “aetiology of bone loss”, “revision total knee arthroplasty”, “management of bone loss”.

Methods for managing bone loss have traditionally been cement augmentation, impaction bone grafting, bulk structural bone graft and stemmed implants with metal augments. No single technique was found to be superior. Megaprostheses have a role as a salvage procedure when the bone loss is deemed to be too significant for reconstruction. Metaphyseal cones and sleeves are a newer treatments with promising medium to long term outcomes.

Bone loss encountered at revision TKA presents a significant challenge. No single technique currently has clear superiority [,] treatment should be based on a sound understanding of the underlying principles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number75359
Number of pages10
JournalOrthopaedic Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2023


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