Associations between pre-operative radiographic changes and outcomes after total knee joint replacement for osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2012 Oct;20(10):1095-102. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2012.05.015. Epub 2012 Jul 16.


Objective: To assess the influence of pre-operative X-ray changes on the response to total knee joint replacement (TKR).

Methods: We included patients from one centre who underwent primary TKR (n = 478) for osteoarthritis in 2006 and 2007. The International Knee Society score (IKSS) and short form health survey were collected pre-operatively and at 1 and 2 years after surgery. Pre-operative radiographs were read to assess Kellgren and Lawrence (K-L) grading, individual radiographic features using the OARSI atlas, and subchondral bone attrition using the Ahlbach method. The main independent variable was a modified (K-L) grade. The outcome variables were the IKSS pain and function scores. Covariates included demographic features, co-morbidities, baseline pain and function, prosthesis type, and the use of patella resurfacing. Multivariable linear regression models were created to assess the relationships between pre-operative X-ray findings and pain and function outcomes.

Results: On average, pain and function improved greatly following surgery. However, pain relief was unsatisfactory in about 30%, and functional improvement suboptimal in about 50%. OR (95% CI) for ongoing moderate-severe pain at 12 months for modified K-L grades; <3: 5.39 (1.23-15.69), 3a: 2.62 (1.21-5.67), 3b: 1.81 (1.00-3.26), 4a: 2.06 (1.05-4.05) when compared to 4b. OR (95% CI) for poor function at 12 months were; 3a: 2.81 (1.23-6.39) and 4a: 2.45 (1.22-4.91), when compared to 4b.

Conclusions: Patients with more severe radiographic knee damage at the time of surgery are most likely to have substantial gains in terms of both pain relief and improved function as a result of a TKR.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / methods*
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Resorption
  • Cartilage, Articular / diagnostic imaging
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnosis*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery*
  • Osteophyte / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteophyte / pathology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Preoperative Period
  • Radiography
  • Recovery of Function
  • Treatment Outcome