Background: Several studies have reported lower perioperative complications with unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) than with total knee arthroplasty (TKA). However, there is a paucity of data analyzing the incidence of periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) in similar patients undergoing UKA and TKA. As such, we sought to analyze the incidence of UKA and TKA PJI in a large matched population.

Material and Methods: The Mariner data set of the PearlDiver database was queried for all patients undergoing UKA or TKA during 2010-2017. Included patients were required to have at least 2 years of database inclusion after surgery. Patients were then matched at a 1:3 ratio (UKA:TKA) on age, gender, Elixhauser Comorbidity Index, tobacco use, and obesity. Rates of PJI requiring operative intervention within 90 days and 1 year were calculated.

Results: In total, 5636 patients having undergone UKA were matched to 16,890 patients having undergone TKA. Fifteen (0.27%) after UKA and 79 (0.47%) after TKA had a PJI surgically managed within 90 days (risk ratio = 0.57, 95% confidence interval = 0.33-0.99, P = .04). Thirty (0.53%) after UKA and 136 (0.81%) after TKA had a PJI surgically managed within 1 year (risk ratio = 0.66, 95% confidence interval = 0.45-0.98, P = .04).

Conclusions: In a large group of rigorously matched patients, UKA was associated with a significantly lower rate of surgically managed PJI than TKA at 90 days and 1 year; however, the rate of PJI in both groups remained low at < 1% at 90 days and 1 year.

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Published in Arthroplasty Today, v. 10.

© 2021 The Authors

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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