Total Knee Arthroplasty for Neuropathic (Charcot) Joints

  • Parvizi J
  • Marrs J
  • Morrey B
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The clinical and radiographic results of 40 modern design condylar total knee arthroplasties (TKAs) in 29 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Charcot joint were reviewed. The followup averaged 7.9 years (range, 2-15 years) for clinical and 6.4 years (range, 2-15) for radiographic surveillance. There was a significant improvement in Knee Society pain and function scores and ROM after knee arthroplasty. Extensive bone fragmentation and bone defect was present in 38 knees (95%). Metal wedge augments (10 knees, eight patient), autologous bone grafting (17 knees, 13 patients), and bone allografts (two knees, two patients) were used to reinforce the bony defects. Ligamentous instability necessitated the use of long stem components in 27 knees and rotating hinge prostheses in five knees. There were six reoperations for periprosthetic fracture (two knees, two patients), aseptic loosening (two knees, two patients), instability (one knee, one patient), and deep infection (one knee, one patient). Total knee arthroplasty may be offered to a select group of patients with end-stage neuropathic arthropathy. The basic principles of knee arthroplasty in restoring limb alignment, reinforcing bony defects by bone grafting or augmented prostheses, careful ligamentous balancing, and appropriate selection of constrained prostheses particularly are important in these patients. The technical challenges encountered during TKA in patients with neuropathic arthropathy, particularly in those with significant deformities, can require skills, implant systems, and methods usually reserved for complex revision arthroplasty.

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