Total knee replacements (TKRs) have developed and changed several times in the last 30 years. In the 1970s, the Oxford knee was used. Survival rates of 10-years were excellent at 97 per cent.
But there were problems with tiny particles and debris from wear causing breakdown of the implant. In the 1980s a low contact stress (LCS) implant was designed. This type of TKR allowed for more mobility. The results were very favorable after 10 years. However, the survival rate dropped from 97 per cent at 10 years to 83 per cent at 16 years.
Studies continue to examine different types of TKRs and their overall survivorship. Long-term follow-up of 15 years and beyond still show implant failure is common. The implant may come loose. The plastic liner can fracture. Infection, instability, and dislocation are other reasons reported for implant failure.
Research is ongoing to find better designs for implants used. Improved surgical technique and more advanced technology are also paving the way for less invasive methods of TKRs. But the long-term results of these changes are still 10 years away.