Background: Prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a serious complication of joint replacement surgeries. Surgeons often take extra measures to reduce the risk of PJI. Whilst many studies have compared between cemented, cementless and hybrid fixation (femoral cementless, tibial cemented), most focus on survivorship, clinical and function outcome scores as primary endpoints. This meta-analysis aims to study the association between fixation methods and risk of PJI in primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Methods: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCT) were performed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Data from studies assessing prevalence of PJI in each fixation type were extracted and analysed. Results: Twelve RCT comprising a total of 1573 knees were included. Six RCT compared between cemented (n = 486 knees) and cementless (n = 440 knees) fixation, while six RCT compared between hybrid (n = 324 knees) and cementless (n = 323 knees) fixation. Network meta-analysis did not reveal any fixation type that significantly increased the infection rate in TKA. Rate of all infection was lowest in cemented TKA as compared to cementless (odds ratio (OR) 0.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.35–2.28) and hybrid (OR 0.63, 95%CI 0.13–2.99) TKA. Rate of PJI requiring revision surgery was lowest in cementless TKA as compared to cemented (OR 0.89, 95%CI 0.30–2.41) and hybrid (OR 0.57, 95%CI 0.09–2.71) TKA. Rate of PJI not requiring revision surgery was lowest in cemented TKA as compared to hybrid (OR 0.56, 95%CI 0.06–6.10) and cementless (OR 0.55, 95% 0.14–5.63). Conclusion: Unlike total hip arthroplasties, fixation method is not a predisposing risk factor for infections in TKA. However, this meta-analysis may not have sufficient statistical power to show a significant difference between fixation types. It is recommended that prophylactic precautions against other known risk factors for infection should still be clinically practiced. Level of evidence: Level I, meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
- fixation method
- total knee arthroplasty