Unicompartmental or total knee replacement: the 15-year results of a prospective randomised controlled trial

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2009 Jan;91(1):52-7. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.91B1.20899.


Between 1989 and 1992 we had 102 knees suitable for unicompartmental knee replacement (UKR). They were randomised to receive either a St Georg Sled UKR or a Kinematic modular total knee replacement (TKR). The early results demonstrated that the UKR group had less complications and more rapid rehabilitation than the TKR group. At five years there were an equal number of failures in the two groups but the UKR group had more excellent results and a greater range of movement. The cases were reviewed by a research nurse at 8, 10 and 12 years after operation. We report the outcome at 15 years follow-up. A total of 43 patients (45 knees) died with their prosthetic knees intact. Throughout the review period the Bristol knee scores of the UKR group have been better and at 15 years 15 (71.4%) of the surviving UKRs and 10 (52.6%) of the surviving TKRs had achieved an excellent score. The 15 years survivorship rate based on revision or failure for any reason was 24 (89.8%) for UKR and 19 (78.7%) for TKR. During the 15 years of the review four UKRs and six TKRs failed. The better early results with UKR are maintained at 15 years with no greater failure rate. The median Bristol knee score of the UKR group was 91.1 at five years and 92 at 15 years, suggesting little functional deterioration in either the prosthesis or the remainder of the joint. These results justify the increased use of UKR.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / methods*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Prosthesis / standards*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / rehabilitation
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery*
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome