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There is conflicting evidence about the merits of mobile bearings in total knee replacement, partly because most randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have not been adequately powered. We report the results of a multicentre RCT of mobile versus fixed bearings. This was part of the knee arthroplasty trial (KAT), where 539 patients were randomly allocated to mobile or fixed bearings and analysed on an intention-to-treat basis. The primary outcome measure was the Oxford Knee Score (OKS) plus secondary measures including Short Form-12, EuroQol EQ-5D, costs, cost-effectiveness and need for further surgery. There was no significant difference between the groups pre-operatively: mean OKS was 17.18 (sd 7.60) in the mobile-bearing group and 16.49 (sd 7.40) in the fixed-bearing group. At five years mean OKS was 33.19 (sd 16.68) and 33.65 (sd 9.68), respectively. There was no significant difference between trial groups in OKS at five years (-1.12 (95% confidence interval -2.77 to 0.52) or any of the other outcome measures. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in the proportion of patients with knee-related re-operations or in total costs. In this appropriately powered RCT, over the first five years after total knee replacement functional outcomes, re-operation rates and healthcare costs appear to be the same irrespective of whether a mobile or fixed bearing is used.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone joint j

Publication Date





486 - 492


Aged, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Female, Humans, Knee Prosthesis, Male, Prospective Studies, Prosthesis Design