Extensor Mechanism Reconstruction After Total Knee Arthroplasty with Allograft Versus Synthetic Mesh: A Multicenter Retrospective Cohort

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2023 Jan 1;31(1):e23-e34. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-22-00401. Epub 2022 Oct 31.


Introduction: Patellar and quadriceps tendon ruptures after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) have historically poor outcomes. To date, there is no consensus for optimal treatment. The purpose of this study is to directly compare clinical outcomes and survivorship between allograft versus synthetic mesh for reconstruction of native extensor mechanism (EM) rupture after TKA.

Methods: A multicenter, retrospective review identifying consecutive TKA patients operated between December 2009 to November 2019 was conducted. Patients aged ≥ 45 years old with native EM disruption treated with either allograft or synthetic mesh with minimum 2 year follow-up were included. Demographic information, injury mechanism, range of motion, surgical time, revision surgeries, and postoperative Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Scores (KOOS Jr.) were collected. Student t-tests and Fisher exact tests were used to compare the demographic data between groups. The Kaplan-Meier survival curve method was used to determine the survivorship as treatment failure was defined as postoperative EM lag >30° or revision surgery. Survival curves were compared using the log-rank test. Univariate Cox proportional hazard regression identified risk factors associated with treatment failure.

Results: Twenty patients underwent EM reconstruction using allograft versus 35 with synthetic mesh. Both groups had similar demographics and an average follow-up time of 3.5 years (P = 0.98). Patients treated with allograft had significantly greater postoperative flexion than patients treated with mesh (99.4 ± 9.5 allograft versus 92.6 ± 13.6 synthetic mesh, P = 0.04). Otherwise, there was no difference in postoperative outcomes between the two groups in average KOOS Jr. (P = 0.29), extensor lag (P = 0.15), graft failure (P = 0.71), revision surgery rates (P = 0.81), surgical time (P = 0.42), or ambulatory status (P = 0.34) at the most recent follow-up. Survival curve comparison also yielded no difference at up to 5-year follow-up (P = 0.48).

Discussion and conclusion: Our findings suggest that reconstruction with allograft or synthetic mesh leads to similar clinical outcomes with good survivorship. Future studies, including larger randomized control trials, are required to determine the superior reconstruction method for this injury.

Level of evidence: III.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Allografts / surgery
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Mesh / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome