Mid-term outcomes of posterior capsular release for fixed flexed deformity after total knee arthroplasty


fixed flexion deformity; flexion contracture; stiffness; total knee arthroplasty; release

Published online: Aug 23 2022


Theofylaktos Kyriakidis, Nikolaos Tasios, Bruno Vandekerckhove, Peter Verdonk, Michiel Cromheecke, René Verdonk

From Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Erasme University Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium


Fixed flexion deformity also called flexion contracture is relatively rare, but a very demanding functional limitation that both surgeons and patients may have to deal with. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the functional outcomes after posteromedial capsular release in case of fixed flexed deformity > 15 o . Between June 2011 and November 2018, 15 patients (6 males and 9 females) were treated with open posterior capsular release through medial approach for fixed flexion deformity of the knee > 15 o and prospectively followed with a minimum follow-up of 2 years. Primary outcome was knee extension measured with a manual goniometer and secondary outcome treatment related complications. All patients reported inability to walk and clinical semiology of pain and swelling. The mean age of the study population at surgery was 61.7 years with a mean BMI of 30.9 kg/m2. Complete data were recorded for all patients. Statistically significant improvement was found in clinical and functional assessment tools analyzed from baseline to the latest follow-up (p<0.05). More precisely, the mean postoperative fixed flexion deformity was decreased from 23.57 o to 2.86 o . No adverse effect or major complications were recorded during follow-up.

Posterior open release via posteromedial was shown to be an efficient and safe salvage procedure to deal with persistent fixed flexion deformity of more than 15 o following TKA at two years follow-up. However, future studies with a higher number of participants and longer follow-up should be conducted to validate our data.