Prior Knee Arthroscopy Increases the Failure Rate of Subsequent Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty

Safa C. Fassihi, Alex Gu, Lauren E. Wessel, Savyasachi C. Thakkar, Peter K. Sculco, Michael P. Ast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In selected patients, knee arthroscopy is performed prior to unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) to treat symptomatic mechanical pathology, delay arthroplasty, and assess the knee compartments. The purpose of this study was to determine if knee arthroscopy prior to UKA is associated with increased rates of UKA failure or conversion to total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Methods: Data was collected from the Humana insurance database from 2007-2017. Patients who underwent knee arthroscopy within two years prior to UKA were identified and matched with controls based on age, gender, Charlson Comorbidity Index, smoking status, and obesity. Rates of conversion to TKA and failure for various causes were compared between cohorts. Results: Prior to propensity matching, 8353 UKA patients met inclusion criteria. Of these, 1079 patients (12.9%) underwent knee arthroscopy within two years of UKA and were matched to 1079 patients (controls) who did not undergo knee arthroscopy in the two years preceding UKA. No differences in demographics/comorbidities existed among cohorts. Compared to controls, the knee arthroscopy cohort was more likely to experience failure for aseptic loosening (2.4% vs 1.1%; OR 2.166; P = .044) and significantly more likely to require conversion to TKA (10.4% vs 4.9%; OR 2.113; P < .001) within two years of UKA. Conclusion: Knee arthroscopy within two years of UKA is associated with an increased rate of UKA conversion to TKA and a higher rate of UKA failure from aseptic loosening. Although clinicians should be mindful of this association when performing knee arthroscopy in patients who may be indicated for future UKA, further research is needed to better characterize these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1556-1561.e1
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • conversion total knee arthroplasty
  • failure
  • knee arthroscopy
  • revision
  • unicompartmental knee arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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