In a recent article in the September 2010 Journal of Arthroplasty, surgeons from the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, performed a meta-analysis of the orthopedic literature regarding the outcomes of mobile versus fixed bearing total knees. What they found agrees with data we have previously reviewed regarding the subject. Available studies indicate there is no difference in the elderly patients between mobile and fixed bearing knee replacements with regard to function and survivorship. Laboratory data would indicate that mobile bearing knees offer the hope of decreased wear and increased survivorship in younger individuals who anticipate a 20-plus year use of their knee replacement. Time will tell whether or not these laboratory studies prove to be valid.
It is for this reason many surgeons use mobile bearing total knee arthroplasties in their younger-aged individuals, hoping that the laboratory data will translate into improved survivorship long term.
—William P. Barrett, MD