Open dislocation of the knee

J Orthop Trauma. 1995 Apr;9(2):135-40. doi: 10.1097/00005131-199504000-00008.


Traumatic open dislocation of the knee is an infrequent, severe injury associated with extensive ligamentous damage and a high incidence of vascular and neurologic involvement. Eighteen patients with 19 open knee dislocations were treated at the affiliated hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania and Louisiana State University Medical Center during an 18-year period. Final results included three above-knee amputations, one knee fusion, and one total knee arthroplasty. The 14 knees salvaged had only fair to poor function according to the Hospital for Special Surgery Knee Injury Score at an average follow-up of 36 months after the injury (average score = 29, range - 17 to 37). Nine patients (47%) had concomitant neurologic or vascular injury, and eight patients (42%) had wound healing difficulties. Five complete disruptions of the popliteal artery or posterior tibial artery underwent emergent revascularization, successful in three of the extremities, with the remaining two extremities requiring above-knee amputations. These massive injuries are often limb-threatening despite prompt surgical intervention and early antibiotic therapy. There is a very high incidence of infection and neurologic injury with a guarded prognosis for limb survival and satisfactory function.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amputation
  • Arthrodesis
  • Blood Vessels / injuries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / complications
  • Joint Dislocations / surgery*
  • Knee Injuries / complications
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Knee Prosthesis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / complications
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome