Analysis of retrieved unicompartmental knee implants and tissue: Third-body wear as a potential contributor to progression of arthritis to adjacent compartments

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Copyright © SLACK inCorporAted Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) for the treatment of single-compartment osteoarthritis has been associated with polyethylene wear and progression of osteoarthritis into adjacent compartments, leading to revision. In this study, damage and clinical failure modes of retrieved UKA implants were investigated and protein expression profiles between articular cartilage adjacent to UKA and primary osteoarthritic cartilage were compared. Fifty retrieved UKA implants were analyzed for various damage. Records review and radiographic analysis were performed to collect clinical data and implant characteristics. Cartilage harvested from revision UKA and primary total knee arthroplasty surgeries was characterized with a proteome profiling array detecting levels of 36 different cytokines, chemokines, and acute phase inflammatory proteins. Progression of osteoarthritis (n=18, 36%) and component loosening (n=17, 34%) were the most common reasons for revision. Liners exhibited the highest frequency of damage modes. Progression of arthritis positively correlated with radiographic presence of extruded bone cement and burnishing of liner components. A protein-level profile between revision UKA and primary total knee arthroplasty cartilage showed 12 differentially expressed cytokines. Failure of UKA may be secondary to the effects of wear debris particulate migration into the adjacent compartment, suggesting an additional pathway of cartilage damage manifesting as traditional clinical symptoms.

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