Tibial tubercle osteotomy with absorbable suture fixation in revision total knee arthroplasty: A report of 23 cases

Christian B.L. Zonnenberg*, Michel P.J. Van Den Bekerom, Tjitte De Jong, Peter A. Nolte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Tibial tubercle osteotomy (TTO) is a well-known technique for improving exposure in difficult total knee arthroplasty (TKA). We have performed 23 revision TKAs with TTO. The tibial tubercle was fixated with only absorbable sutures afterwards. The aim of this study is to report on the clinical results and complications of this procedure. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 23 patients (mean age 69.6 years, range 43-84 years) who underwent TTO with only absorbable suture fixation. Clinic charts were reviewed to identify any complications that occurred. Obvious proximal migration and union of the tibial tubercle was evaluated on the postoperative radiographs. Knee Society scores and SF-36 were assigned at latest follow-up. Results: The mean follow-up was 16.1 months (1-43). Two patients died of causes unrelated to surgery. In one case a fracture of the TTO occurred. No obvious migration of the osteotomy was detected. In two cases there was partial consolidation of the osteotomy, but without clinical consequences of pain or extension lag. In five patients a tibial plateau fracture occurred intraoperative which allowed partial weight bearing during 6 weeks. These fractures were not related to the surgical technique of the TTO. In 15 out of 23 patients a Knee Society Score could be assigned. The mean total knee score (maximum 200 points) after revision was 99.5 (17-166) (clinical KSS 52.1, functional KSS 47.3) at latest follow-up. SF-36 scores could be assigned to 16 patients; the mean SF-36 (maximum 100) was 88 (range 74-98). Conclusion: Tibial tubercle osteotomy with only absorbable suture fixation is a reliable and simple method of fixation and provides adequate stability. It is a straightforward surgical technique which is less time-consuming and expensive compared with screw and cerclage wire fixation and no hardware removal will be necessary. Therefore, this method is a beneficial technique for the enhancement of surgical exposure in difficult revision TKA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-672
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Arthroplasty
  • Exposure
  • Knee
  • Osteotomy
  • Revision
  • Surgical approach


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