Revision knee data from six joint arthroplasty centers were compiled for 2010 and 2011 to determine mechanism of failure and time to failure. Aseptic loosening was the predominant mechanism of failure (31.2%), followed by instability (18.7%), infection (16.2%), polyethylene wear (10.0%), arthrofibrosis (6.9%), and malalignment (6.6%). Mean time to failure was 5.9 years (range 10 days to 31 years). 35.3% of all revisions occurred less than 2 years after the index arthroplasty, 60.2% in the first 5 years. In contrast to previous reports, polyethylene wear is not a leading failure mechanism and rarely presents before 15 years. Implant performance is not a predominant factor of knee failure. Early failure mechanisms are primarily surgeon-dependent.
Keywords: aseptic loosening; failure; instability; total knee revision.