Periprosthetic Fractures of the Distal Femur: Is Open Reduction and Internal Fixation or Distal Femoral Replacement Superior?

J Arthroplasty. 2020 May;35(5):1402-1406. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2019.12.033. Epub 2019 Dec 20.


Background: The purpose of this study is to compare open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) to distal femoral replacement (DFR) for treatment of displaced periprosthetic distal femur fractures.

Methods: We identified 72 patients with minimum 2-year follow-up following a displaced periprosthetic distal femur fracture: 50 were treated with ORIF and 22 with DFR. Outcomes were assessed with multivariate regression analysis and include Knee Society Scores (KSS), infection rates, revision incidence, and mortality.

Results: Patients treated with DFR had a higher Charlson comorbidity index (5.2 vs 3.8; P = .006). The mean postoperative KSS were similar between groups, but the Knee Society Functional Scores were higher in the ORIF group (P = .01). Six ORIF patients (12%) and 3 DFR patients (14%) underwent a revision surgery (P = .1). In the ORIF group, 3 revisions were associated with periprosthetic infection, and 3 revisions occurred for aseptic nonunion. In the DFR group, 1 infection was treated with irrigation and debridement, and 2 cases of patellar maltracking resulted in 1 liner exchange with soft tissue release and 1 femoral revision for malrotation. More patients in the ORIF group required repeat revisions, with twice as many total revisions (P < .001). Six ORIF patients and 7 DFR patients died within 2 years (P = .26).

Conclusion: The Knee Society Functional Score favored ORIF, but the total incidence of revision was higher in the ORIF cohort. Given the high mortality and the substantial risk of reoperation in both groups, additional studies are needed regarding the prevention of and optimal treatment for patients with periprosthetic distal femur fractures.

Keywords: distal femoral replacement; megaprosthesis; periprosthetic distal femur fracture; periprosthetic supracondylar femur fracture; total knee arthroplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee* / adverse effects
  • Femoral Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Femoral Fractures* / etiology
  • Femoral Fractures* / surgery
  • Femur / surgery
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Periprosthetic Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Periprosthetic Fractures* / etiology
  • Periprosthetic Fractures* / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome