Primary Total Knee Arthroplasty Revised for Instability: A Detailed Registry Analysis

Published:November 08, 2021DOI:



      Instability after total knee arthroplasty is a common but poorly understood complication.


      Data from a large national registry was used to study patient and prosthesis characteristics of 2605 total knee arthroplasty revisions for instability. The cumulative percent revision was calculated using Kaplan-Meier estimates, and Cox proportional models used to compare revision rates. The rate of further revision was analyzed with regard to prostheses used in the first revision.


      Instability increased from 6% of all first revision procedures in 2003 to 13% in 2019. The revision risk was lower for minimally stabilized prostheses, males, and patients aged ≥65 years. Polyethylene insert exchange was used for 55% of revision procedures, using a thicker insert in 93% and a change in insert conformity in 24% of cruciate-retaining knees. The increase in either thickness or conformity had no effect on the rate of further revision. After a revision for instability, 24% had a second revision by 14 years. Recurrent instability accounted for 32% of further revisions. A lower second revision rate was seen after revision of both femoral and tibial components, and where constrained components were used.


      Revision for instability is increasing. Revising both femoral and tibial components led to a lower rate of second revision compared to a change in insert alone. Recurrent instability was common.


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