In 1989, Kozinn and Scott introduced strict exclusion criteria for unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA). Because outcomes have improved with modern techniques and implants, these criteria have now been challenged. Therefore, the goal was to assess the role of these criteria on (1) functional outcomes and (2) revision rates of medial UKA. The hypothesis was that, with modern surgical techniques and implants, these traditional exclusion criteria are no longer strict contraindications for UKA.

Databases of PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane and annual registries were searched for studies comparing UKA results in subgroups: age (young vs old), gender (male vs female), body mass index (obese vs nonobese), present vs absent patellofemoral osteoarthritis, and intact vs deficient anterior cruciate ligament.

Thirty-one comparative cohort studies (7 level II and 24 level III/IV studies) and 6 registries reported outcomes in 17,147 patients and revision rates in 285,472 patients. Females had inferior functional outcomes compared to males (odds ratio [OR], 4.03; 95% CI, 1.77-6.30). Furthermore, younger patients (in studies: OR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.06-2.19; in registries: OR, 2.09; 95% CI, 1.70-2.57) and females (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.06-1.21) had increased likelihood for revision. No increased likelihood for inferior outcomes or revisions was detected in patients with obesity, preoperative patellofemoral osteoarthritis, or anterior cruciate ligament deficiency.

Findings of increased revision risk in younger patients and increased revision risk with inferior outcomes in females give a more nuanced perspective on historical criteria, such that surgical decision-making may be based on UKA outcome data for subgroups rather than strict exclusion criteria.