Mobile-Bearing has no Benefit Over Fixed-Bearing Total Knee Arthroplasty in Joint Awareness and Crepitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Arthroplasty. 2023 Jan;38(1):78-84. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2022.07.021. Epub 2022 Aug 5.


Background: Given higher component conformity, rotational availability of polyethylene insert, and more physiologic patellofemoral tracking, mobile-bearing (MB) total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is supposed to offer advantages in joint perception and crepitus. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether MB TKA offers superior outcomes over fixed-bearing (FB) TKA in terms of joint awareness and crepitus.

Methods: This prospective, randomized, controlled trial included 49 FB and 49 MB TKAs that shared the same posterior-stabilized femoral component. Primary outcomes included joint awareness assessed with the Forgotten Joint Score and crepitus graded according to severity and sound at 3 years postoperatively. Secondary outcomes were the range of motion, the Knee Society Score, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, component position, and joint line level on radiographs.

Results: The Forgotten Joint Score showed no significant difference between the FB (67 points; range, 0-100) and MB groups (63 points; range, 13-100) (P = .440). For crepitus, no significant differences were found in the overall incidence rate (FB group, 18%; MB group, 12%; P = .386) and grade (grade 1, 6 versus 5; grade 2, 2 versus 1; grade 3, 1 versus 0, respectively). There were no significant differences in range of motion, Knee Society Score, and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, as well as radiographic outcomes between the two groups (all, P > .05).

Conclusion: MB TKA offers no benefits in terms of joint awareness and crepitus compared with FB TKA at mean 3 years postoperatively. The theoretical advantages of MB TKA have yet to be demonstrated in practice, leaving the selection of bearing type to the surgeon's judgment.

Level of evidence: Level II.

Keywords: Forgotten Joint Score; crepitus; fixed-bearing; joint awareness; mobile-bearing; total knee arthroplasty.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Knee Prosthesis*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / surgery
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Range of Motion, Articular