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BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to compare intramedullary nailing with external fixation for knee arthrodesis after failed infected total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Primary outcome is radiographic union. Secondary outcomes include recurrent deep infection, revision arthrodesis, and amputation. METHODS: Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing outcomes from intramedullary nailing and external fixation in patients with infected TKA undergoing arthrodesis procedures was performed. Randomized controlled trials and cohort studies were included. RESULTS: Intramedullary nailing achieves a significantly higher rate of radiographic union compared with external fixation (odds ratio [OR] 5.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.74-9.75, P < .00001) at a mean follow-up of 44.22 months. There is no significant difference in the rate of recurrent deep infection (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.38-2.15, P = .83) or amputation (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.23-3.84, P = .93). The rate of revision arthrodesis procedures is significantly lower for intramedullary nailing compared with external fixation (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.08-0.93, P = .04). CONCLUSION: Intramedullary nailing is more effective than external fixation with respect to several clinically important outcomes. Therefore, we recommend intramedullary nailing for achieving knee arthrodesis as a salvage procedure for infected TKA in the absence of specific indications for external fixation.

Original publication




Journal article


J arthroplasty

Publication Date





1288 - 1295


arthrodesis, arthroplasty, external fixator, infection, intramedullary, knee, Amputation, Arthrodesis, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Bone Nails, Fracture Fixation, Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary, Humans, Odds Ratio, Prosthesis-Related Infections, Recurrence, Reoperation