How long does a knee replacement last? A systematic review and meta-analysis of case series and national registry reports with more than 15 years of follow-up

Jonathan T Evans, Robert Walker, Jonathan P Evans, Ashley Blom, Adrian Sayers, Michael Whitehouse

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BACKGROUND: Knee replacements are the mainstay of treatment for end-stage osteoarthritis and are effective. Given time, all knee replacements will fail and knowing when this failure might happen is important. We aimed to establish how long a knee replacement lasts.

METHODS: In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched MEDLINE and Embase for case series and cohort studies published from database inception until July 21, 2018. Articles reporting 15 year or greater survival of primary total knee replacement (TKR), unicondylar knee replacement (UKR), and patellofemoral replacements in patients with osteoarthritis were included. Articles that reviewed specifically complex primary surgeries or revisions were excluded. Survival and implant data were extracted, with all-cause survival of the knee replacement construct being the primary outcome. We also reviewed national joint replacement registry reports and extracted the data to be analysed separately. In the meta-analysis, we weighted each series and calculated a pooled survival estimate for each data source at 15 years, 20 years, and 25 years, using a fixed-effects model. This study is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42018105188.

FINDINGS: From 4363 references found by our initial search, we identified 33 case series in 30 eligible articles, which reported all-cause survival for 6490 TKRs (26 case series) and 742 UKRs (seven case series). No case series reporting on patellofemoral replacements met our inclusion criteria, and no case series reported 25 year survival for TKR. The estimated 25 year survival for UKR (based on one case series) was 72·0% (95% CI 58·0-95·0). Registries contributed 299 291 TKRs (47 series) and 7714 UKRs (five series). The pooled registry 25 year survival of TKRs (14 registries) was 82·3% (95% CI 81·3-83·2) and of UKRs (four registries) was 69·8% (67·6-72·1).

INTERPRETATION: Our pooled registry data, which we believe to be more accurate than the case series data, shows that approximately 82% of TKRs last 25 years and 70% of UKRs last 25 years. These findings will be of use to patients and health-care providers; further information is required to predict exactly how long specific knee replacements will last.

FUNDING: The National Joint Registry for England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Isle of Man and the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-663
Number of pages9
Issue number10172
Early online date14 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2019

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research


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