Complications associated with 133 static, antibiotic-laden spacers after TKA

M. Faschingbauer*, R. Bieger, H. Reichel, C. Weiner, T. Kappe

*Corresponding author for this work
10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Periprosthetic infection after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a devastating complication, with a two-stage revision currently the ‘gold standard’ treatment for chronic infections. There is, however, a lack of information about mechanical complications during this treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine: (1) the rate and type of mechanical complications encountered during a two-stage exchange revision for periprosthetic infection of the knee and (2) possible factors of influence. Methods: Between 2000 and 2011, 133 patients received an antibiotic-laden cement spacer as part of a two-stage protocol. The overall frequency and types of complication were recorded (fissure/fracture of the tibia or femur, spacer fracture, subluxation of the patella, peroneus affection, wound healing disorder and mobilization under anaesthesia based on a constricted ROM). Also analysed were potential influencing factors (BMI, ASA classification, length of the interval with the enclosed spacer, revision needed after explantation, revision needed after reimplantation, complications after primary TKA, service life of the primary prosthesis) in terms of the overall outcome (possibility of reimplantation, complications during the two-stage protocol). Results: The mean age at the time of the first stage operation was 70.1 ± 9.9 years. Overall, 20 of 133 patients suffered one of the complications mentioned above (15 %). Fracture/fissure of the tibia occurred in nine cases (6.8 %) and fracture/fissure of the femur in three (2.3 %). There were also three mobilizations under anaesthesia after TKA reimplantation, two affections of the peroneus nerve, one spacer fracture, one subluxation of the patella and one wound healing disorder. The influencing factors on the overall outcome were revision after reimplantation (reinfection, p = 0.002), revision after explantation (reinfection, p = 0.044), prior aseptic revision after primary TKA (reimplantation, p = 0.019), and prior two-stage revision (reimplantation, p = 0.002). Conclusion: A two-stage revision arthroplasty using a static cement spacer is an effective therapy for infected TKAs. The complication rate of 15 % (including restricted ROM after reimplantation) is acceptable. Influencing factors (revision needed after reimplantation, revision needed after explantation) can be demonstrated and should be avoided during the two-stage protocol.

Original languageEnglish
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)3096-3099
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2016
Externally publishedYes

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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