Severe iatrogenic knee arthrosis caused by a delayed intra-articular migration of a broken k-wire. A potential destroying complication of patella tension band wiring.

Stefano Carbone, Valerio Arceri, Gianfranco Canero, Stefano Gumina


Patella fractures are a relatively common injuries. Tension band wiring is often used to treat displaced patella fracture. Wire breakage and migration is a known complication of using a wire tension band construct. We report a case of migration into the knee joint of a broken k-wire used for patella tension band wiring after two years from fixation, noted six months after the last radiological examination. The broken wire was removed arthroscopically while the remaining hardware via three mini-incision of the skin. The knee joint developed severe iatrogenic arthrosis. We would like to evidence that broken hardware can migrate also into the joint and rapidly cause knee arthrosis, a detrimental complication rarely described in literature. Implant removal at fracture healing or close clinical and radiological examination after internal fixation are mandatory to avoid such complication.


Patella fracture; Patella tension band wiring; Complication; K-wire migration; Iatrogenic arthrosis

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