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      Comparison of intramedullary nailing and external fixation knee arthrodesis for the infected knee replacement.

      Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
      Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, adverse effects, Awards and Prizes, Bone Nails, Bone Transplantation, Comorbidity, External Fixators, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Proportional Hazards Models, Prosthesis Failure, Prosthesis-Related Infections, epidemiology, surgery, therapy, Recurrence, Reoperation, statistics & numerical data, Risk Factors

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          We analyzed knee arthrodesis for the infected total knee replacement (TKR) using two different fixation techniques. Patients undergoing knee arthrodesis for infected TKR were identified and rates of successful fusion and recurrence of infection were compared using Cox proportional hazard models. Eighty-five consecutive patients who underwent knee arthrodesis were followed until union, nonunion, amputation, or death. External fixation achieved successful fusion in 41 of 61 patients and was associated with a 4.9% rate of deep infection. Fusion was successful in 23 of 24 patients with intramedullary (IM) nailing and was associated with an 8.3% rate of deep infection. We observed similar fusion and infection rates with the two techniques. Thirty-four patients (40%) had complications. Knee arthrodesis remains a reasonable salvage alternative for the difficult infected TKR. Complication rates are high irrespective of the technique, and one must consider the risks of both nonunion and infection when choosing the fixation method in this setting. IM nailing appears to have a higher rate of successful union but a higher risk of recurrent infection when compared with external fixation knee arthrodesis. Level III, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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