Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, La Paz University Hospital, Paseo de la Castellana 261, 28046-Madrid, Spain
Prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a serious complication of total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Control of infection after a failed two-stage TKA is not always possible, and the resolution of infection may require an above-knee amputation (AKA) or a the-knee (KF). The purpose of this review is to determine which treatment method (AKA or KF) yields better function and ambulatory status for patients after a failed two-stage reimplantation. A PubMed search related to the resolution of infection by means of an above-the-knee amputation (AKA) or a knee fusion was performed until 10 January 2015. The key words were: infected TKA and above-the-knee amputation. Five hundred and sixty-six papers were found, of which ten were reviewed because they were focused on the topic of the article. KF should be strongly considered as the treatment of choice for patients who have persistent infected TKA after a failed two-stage revision arthroplasty. Patients can walk at least inside the house, and activity of daily living independence is achieved by the patients with successful KF, although walking aids, including a shoe lift, are required. An intramedullary nail leads to better functional results than an external fixator. The functional outcome after AKA performed after TKA is poor. A substantial percentage of the patients never fit with a prosthesis, and those who are seldom obtain functional independence. Only 50% of patients are able to walk after AKA. Patients receiving KF for treating recurrent PJI after TKA have better function and ambulatory status compared to patients receiving AKA. KF must be recommended as the treatment of choice for patients who have persistent infected TKA after a failed two-stage reimplantation procedure.
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