People undergoing total knee replacements 4 times likelier to die than partial surgery counterparts

Washington: A new study has revealed that partial knee replacement surgery is safer than total knee replacement and people who undergo the latter are four times more likely to die in the first month after surgery.

According to the study by University of Oxford, patients undergoing total replacement are twice as likely to have a thrombosis, heart attack or deep infection, three times as likely to have a stroke and four times as likely to need blood transfusions, compared to those having partial replacement

The researchers said that after total knee replacement patients are in hospital longer and the chance of being readmitted or requiring a re-operation during the first year is higher.

The study found that patients who had a partial knee replacement are 40 per cent more likely to have a re-operation, known as revision surgery, during the first eight years after the replacement, than those that had a total knee replacement.

David Murray, from the Nuffield Departmental of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences at the University of Oxford, who led the research, said that for an individual patient, the decision whether to have a partial or total is based on an assessment of the relative risks and benefits and the main benefit of the partial knee is that it provides better function.

The researchers also said that that to put the risks in perspective, if 100 patients had a partial knee rather than a total knee replacement there would be one fewer death and three more re-operations in the first four years after surgery.

The team's study used data from the National Joint Registry for England and Wales on the adverse outcomes of more than 100,000 matched patients who had undergone both types of knee surgery.

The study was published in The Lancet.