Clin Orthop Surg.  2021 Jun;13(2):152-159. 10.4055/cios20066.

Treatment of Recurrent Hemarthrosis Following Total Knee Arthroplasty Using Surgical Interventions

  • 1Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Chosun University College of Medicine, Gwangju, Korea
  • 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Chosun University College of Medicine, Gwangju, Korea


Recurrent hemarthrosis following total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a rare complication. Its pathophysiology and standard treatments have not yet been established. In this study, we report 7 cases of recurrent hemarthrosis after TKA in which failure of the initial conservative treatment was followed by angiographic embolization; in 1 of the 7 cases, arthroscopic electrocauterization was also performed after treatment failure with selective embolization.
From January 2015 to May 2018, 7 patients visited our hospital due to recurrent hemarthrosis after TKA. Their medical records and serologic test results were reviewed to check for the presence of any bleeding disorder and history of anticoagulant use. Implant malalignment and instability were checked using X-ray. In all cases, the conservative treatment failed, so interventional angiography with selective embolization was performed, which was also followed by arthroscopic electrocauterization if the outcome was unsatisfactory.
The interval between TKA and the onset of hemarthrosis ranged from 3 to 76 months (average, 34.1 months). There was no coagulopathy and instability. All patients underwent conservative treatment at an interval of 4.3 months and the rate of relapse was 3.1 on average. On the interventional angiography, 6 cases showed vascular blush, and 1 case had pulsatile bleeding. The average duration for interventional angiography was 90.9 minutes. The average length of follow-up was 38.8 months. Embolization was successfully performed in 4 cases. In 2 of 3 failed cases, the symptoms improved without further treatment. In the remaining 1 failed case, the patient had a relapse of hemarthrosis, so an arthroscopic procedure was performed, which led to identification of the suspicious bleeding point by using preoperative angiographic findings. Electrocauterization was performed and active bleeding was stopped. All cases with recurrent hemarthrosis achieved improvement.
Interventional angiography was used to aid in the diagnosis of recurrent hemarthrosis, and therapeutic selective embolization provided satisfactory clinical results. Even if selective embolization fails, interventional angiography may be helpful for further surgical procedures because it reveals vascular blush of a bleeding site. Therefore, interventional angiography and selective embolization should be considered to be a useful treatment for recurrent hemarthrosis after TKA.


Hemarthrosis; Total knee arthroplasty; Angiography; Embolization
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