Disruption of the extensor mechanism in total knee arthroplasty may occur by tubercle avulsion, patellar or quadriceps tendon rupture, or patella fracture, and whether occurring intra-operatively or post-operatively can be difficult to manage and is associated with a significant rate of failure and associated complications. This surgery is frequently performed in compromised tissues, and repairs must frequently be protected with cerclage wiring and/or augmentation with local tendon (semi-tendinosis, gracilis) which may also be used to treat soft-tissue loss in the face of chronic disruption. Quadriceps rupture may be treated with conservative therapy if the patient retains active extension. Component loosening or loss of active extension of 20° or greater are clear indications for surgical treatment of patellar fracture. Acute patellar tendon disruption may be treated by primary repair. Chronic extensor failure is often complicated by tissue loss and retraction can be treated with medial gastrocnemius flaps, achilles tendon allografts, and complete extensor mechanism allografts. Attention to fixing the graft in full extension is mandatory to prevent severe extensor lag as the graft stretches out over time.
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
This paper is based on a study which was presented at the Winter 2011 Current Concepts in Joint Replacement meeting in Orlando, Florida, 7th – 10th December.
- Received September 20, 2012.
- Accepted September 20, 2012.
- ©2012 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery