Arthrodesis of the knee: Experience with intramedullary nailing

Stephen J. Incavo, Jacob W. Lilly, Craig S. Bartlett, David L. Churchill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Knee arthrodesis using an intramedullary nail has gained acceptance as treatment in difficult cases such as infection after total knee arthroplasty (TKA), neuropathic joint, and obesity. A retrospective review of 22 cases treated at our institution using an intramedullary nail for knee arthrodesis was performed. Deep infection after primary (11) or revision (6) TKA was the most common indication for this procedure. A long intramedullary nail was used in 3 cases, a long nail with a proximal interlocking screw was used in 6 cases, and a customized nail with a valgus bend and a proximal interlocking screw was used in 11 cases. A modular knee fusion nail was used in 1 case. Successful fusion occurred in all cases, although 4 patients required additional surgery. Average operative blood loss was 748 mL, and average time to union was 7 months. Shortening of the extremity averaged 3.2 cm. Tibiofemoral alignment was improved by using a customized valgus nail (average, 3.1 valgus; range, 1-5) when compared with a straight nail (average, 0.2 valgus; range, 3 varus to 3 valgus). No patient developed infection in the hip or ankle region as a result of the long intramedullary nail. Intramedullary nailing is an excellent technique for knee arthrodesis in difficult cases. A customized proximal interlocking nail with 5°to 7°of valgus and 5°of anterior angulation improves tibiofemoral alignment and is straightforward to insert or extract should it be necessary. Stability and pain relief are rapid, and the fusion rate is maximized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-876
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Arthrodesis
  • Fusion
  • Intramedullary railing
  • Knee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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