Functional outcomes of simultaneous bilateral versus unilateral total knee arthroplasty

Orthopedics. 2015 Jan;38(1):e43-7. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20150105-59.


Many patients in need of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) have bilateral symptoms and require surgery to both extremities. Performance of a bilateral procedure under a single anesthetic provides a reduced hospitalization time, an isolated anesthesia risk, a single rehabilitation, and substantial cost savings. While most current research examines postoperative complication rates, the primary purpose of TKA is the alleviation of pain and improved quality of life. The purpose of this study was to assess pain and functional outcomes associated with simultaneous bilateral TKA. The authors believe that patients with advanced destructive arthritis to numerous joints cannot achieve complete restoration of their functional status until comprehensive treatment of their disease process occurs. A retrospective review of 697 TKAs in 511 consecutive patients with bilateral knee arthritis was performed. Patients underwent either simultaneous bilateral TKA (n=186), performed sequentially under the same anesthetic, or unilateral TKA (n=325). The same intra- and postoperative protocols were followed in each group. There was no statistically significant difference in postoperative pain, represented by Knee Society Score (P=.161). However, there was a significantly higher postoperative functional outcomes-including increased total range of motion (P=.001), flexion (P=.003), and function score (P<.001)-associated with bilateral TKA. Simultaneous bilateral TKA is an effective treatment option and may be worth possible added risk in appropriate patients because it produces a better functional outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome