A randomised, controlled trial of circumpatellar electrocautery in total knee replacement without patellar resurfacing: A concise follow-up at a mean of 3.7 years

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Deventer Hospital, P. O. Box 5001, 7400 GC Deventer, The Netherlands.
The Bone & Joint Journal (Impact Factor: 3.31). 08/2011; 93(8):1054-9. DOI: 10.1302/0301-620X.93B8.26560
Source: PubMed


The efficacy of circumpatellar electrocautery in reducing the incidence of post-operative anterior knee pain is unknown. We conducted a single-centre, outcome-assessor and patient-blinded, parallel-group, randomised, controlled trial to compare circumpatellar electrocautery with no electrocautery in total knee replacement in the absence of patellar resurfacing. Patients requiring knee replacement for primary osteoarthritis were randomly assigned circumpatellar electrocautery (intervention group) or no electrocautery (control group). The primary outcome measure was the incidence of anterior knee pain. A secondary measure was the standardised clinical and patient-reported outcomes determined by the American Knee Society scores and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) osteoarthritis index. A total of 131 knees received circumpatellar electrocautery and 131 had no electrocautery. The overall incidence of anterior knee pain at follow-up at one year was 26% (20% to 31%), with 19% (12% to 26%) in the intervention group and 32% (24% to 40%) in the control group (p = 0.02). The relative risk reduction from electrocautery was 40% (9% to 61%) and the number needed to treat was 7.7 (4.3 to 41.4). The intervention group had a better mean total WOMAC score at follow-up at one year compared with the control group (16.3 (0 to 77.7) versus 21.6 (0 to 76.7), p = 0.04). The mean post-operative American Knee Society knee scores and function scores were similar in the intervention and control groups (knee score: 92.4 (55 to 100) versus 90.4 (51 to 100), respectively (p = 0.14); function score: 86.5 (15 to 100) versus 84.5 (30 to 100), respectively (p = 0.49)). Our study suggests that in the absence of patellar resurfacing electrocautery around the margin of the patella improves the outcome of total knee replacement.

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Available from: Rudolf W. Poolman
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    • "This study has several weaknesses. It is a retrospective review of Registry data and does not record the indication for secondary resurfacing of the patella, nor the surgeon’s practice of using electrocautery around the unresurfaced patella – there is evidence that such treatment may improve post-operative pain.13 We have assumed that modern patellar resurfacings and TKR designs are very similar in terms of their functional results. "
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    ABSTRACT: Our study aimed to examine if a mobile-bearing total knee replacement (TKR) offered an advantage over fixed-bearing designs with respect to rates of secondary resurfacing of the patella in knees in which it was initially left unresurfaced. We examined the 11-year report of the New Zealand Joint Registry and identified all primary TKR designs that had been implanted in > 500 knees without primary resurfacing of the patella. We examined how many of these were mobile-bearing, fixed-bearing cruciate-retaining and fixed-bearing posterior-stabilised designs. We assessed the rates of secondary resurfacing of the patella for each group and constructed Kaplan-Meier survival curves. Our study showed a significantly higher rate of revision for secondary resurfacing of the patella in the fixed-bearing posterior-stabilised TKR designs compared with either fixed-bearing cruciate-retaining or mobile-bearing designs (p = 0.001 and p = 0.036, respectively). This New Zealand Registry study shows that during the last 11 years, revision procedures to resurface an unresurfaced patella in primary TKR occurred at a higher rate in fixed-bearing posterior-stabilised designs.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013
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    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: The incidence of anterior knee pain following total knee replacement (TKR) is reported to be as high as 49%. The source of the pain is poorly understood but the soft tissues around the patella have been implicated. In theory circumferential electrocautery denervates the patella thereby reducing efferent pain signals. However, there is mixed evidence that this practice translates into improved outcomes. We aimed to investigate the clinical effect of intra-operative circumpatellar electrocautery in patients undergoing TKR using the LCS mobile bearing or Kinemax fixed bearing TKR. A total of 200 patients were randomised to receive either circumpatellar electrocautery (diathermy) or not (control). Patients were assessed by visual analogue scale (VAS) for anterior knee pain and Oxford knee score (OKS) pre-operatively and three months, six months and one year post-operatively. Patients and assessors were blinded. There were 91 patients in the diathermy group and 94 in the control. The mean VAS improvement at one year was 3.9 in both groups (control; -10 to 6, diathermy; -9 to 8, p < 0.001 in both cases, paired, two-tailed t-test). There was no significant difference in VAS between the groups at any other time. The mean OKS improvement was 17.7 points (0 to 34) in the intervention group and 16.6 (0 to 42) points in the control (p = 0.36). There was no significant difference between the two groups in OKS at any other time. We found no relevant effect of patellar electrocautery on either VAS anterior knee pain or OKS for patients undergoing LCS and Kinemax TKR.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · The Bone & Joint Journal
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