Is unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) superior to total knee arthroplasty (TKA)? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trial

Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 2015 Jul;25(5):799-806. doi: 10.1007/s00590-015-1610-9. Epub 2015 Feb 13.


Objective: To compare clinical outcomes of unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) versus total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

Methods: A systematic review and meta-regression to compare postoperative outcomes of pain VAS, knee function score, range of motion, complications and revision surgery rates between UKA and TKA were conducted. Relevant randomized controlled trials were identified from MEDLINE and Scopus from inception to August 29, 2014.

Results: Three of 1056 studies were eligible; two, three, two, three and three studies were included in pooling of pain visual analog score (VAS), Knee Society Score (KSS) and Bristol Knee Score (BKS), maximum knee flexion, postoperative complications (aseptic loosening, progressive degenerative joint disease of lateral compartment, bearing dislocation, DVT, fractures and infection) and revision rates, respectively. The unstandardized mean difference (UMD) of the function scores (KSS, BS) for UKA was 1.62 (95 % CI -1.17, 4.42) better than TKA and for pain score was 0.1 (95 % CI -3.54, 3.73) higher than TKA, but both without statistical significance. UKA was more likely to show higher mean maximum knee flexion with a UMD of 1.88 (95 % CI -0.54, 4.30) when compared to TKA, but was also not statistically significant. UKA had a statistically significant lower chance of postoperative complications by 0.35 U (95 % CI 0.12, 0.98) when compared to TKA, but had higher revision rates than TKA with a value of 5.36 (95 % CI 1.06, 27.08).

Conclusion: In short-term outcomes (5 years or less, with follow-up of 0-5 years), TKA had higher postoperative complications than UKA, but had lower revision rates. There was only one study that reported long-term survivorship (more than 5 years, with follow-up of 5-15 years). Further research that assesses long-term survivorship is necessary to better evaluate UKA and TKA in the treatment of unicompartmental knee osteoarthritis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / methods*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Range of Motion, Articular