Between 1976 and 1999, 3714 consecutive primary total knee arthroplasties (TKAs) were done at our institution. Of these, 20 (0.54%) TKAs were done in 18 patients who were > or =90 years old. The average follow-up period was 62.2 months. There was 1 postoperative death among the nonagenarians within 90 days of surgery. All patients had complete pain relief and excellent knee scores using the Knee Society clinical assessment scale. None had an excellent function score at final follow-up examination, however. Only 1 patient experienced any surgical complications; the patient had wound dehiscence. Five (26.3%) of the surviving 19 patients had medical complications. The average length of hospital stay was 10.1 days. Although TKA produced only moderate improvement in knee function for the nonagenarians, it produced excellent clinical improvement. TKA improved the patients' ability to manage the activities of daily living and their quality of life.
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