Arthrodesis for failed knee arthroplasty. A report of 20 cases.
Twenty consecutive patients treated by arthrodesis for failed knee arthroplasty are reviewed. Eight hinged, five stabilised and seven compartmental prostheses were removed, for infection (15 cases), loosening (4) and instability (1). One patient refused a second-stage operation but the remainder gained sound fusion. Infected knees had a two-stage procedure with temporary insertion of gentamicin-loaded beads after removal of the prosthesis; all infections healed. Six arthrodeses using a Hoffmann-Vidal external fixator resulted in two temporary failures. One Ace-Fischer external fixation was successful. Of 10 primary attempts at arthrodesis with an intramedullary Kuntscher nail, nine were successful; the tenth fused after two more attempts by the same method. The two failures of external fixation and two failures after Charnley single-frame compression done elsewhere were successfully fused with intramedullary nails. Delayed union in three cases fused after prolonged fixation and repeated bone grafts. The indications for and methods of arthrodesis after failed knee arthroplasty are discussed.