Prediction of complications and surgery duration in primary TKA with high accuracy using machine learning with arthroplasty-specific data

Florian Hinterwimmer, Igor Lazic, Severin Langer, Christian Suren, Fiona Charitou, Michael T. Hirschmann, Georg Matziolis, Fritz Seidl, Florian Pohlig, Daniel Rueckert, Rainer Burgkart, Rüdiger von Eisenhart-Rothe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: The number of primary total knee arthroplasties (TKA) is expected to rise constantly. For patients and healthcare providers, the early identification of risk factors therefore becomes increasingly fundamental in the context of precision medicine. Others have already investigated the detection of risk factors by conducting literature reviews and applying conventional statistical methods. Since the prediction of events has been moderately accurate, a more comprehensive approach is needed. Machine learning (ML) algorithms have had ample success in many disciplines. However, these methods have not yet had a significant impact in orthopaedic research. The selection of a data source as well as the inclusion of relevant parameters is of utmost importance in this context. In this study, a standardized approach for ML in TKA to predict complications during surgery and an irregular surgery duration using data from two German arthroplasty-specific registries was evaluated. Methods: The dataset is based on two initiatives of the German Society for Orthopaedics and Orthopaedic Surgery. A problem statement and initial parameters were defined. After screening, cleaning and preparation of these datasets, 864 cases of primary TKA (2016–2019) were gathered. The XGBoost algorithm was chosen and applied with a hyperparameter search, a cross validation and a loss weighting to cope with class imbalance. For final evaluation, several metrics (accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, AUC) were calculated. Results: An accuracy of 92.0%, sensitivity of 34.8%, specificity of 95.8%, and AUC of 78.0% were achieved for predicting complications in primary TKA and 93.4%, 74.0%, 96.3%, and 91.6% for predicting irregular surgery duration, respectively. While traditional statistics (correlation coefficient) could not find any relevant correlation between any two parameters, the feature importance revealed several non-linear outcomes. Conclusion: In this study, a feasible ML model to predict outcomes of primary TKA with very promising results was built. Complex correlations between parameters were detected, which could not be recognized by conventional statistical analysis. Arthroplasty-specific data were identified as relevant by the ML model and should be included in future clinical applications. Furthermore, an interdisciplinary interpretation as well as evaluation of the results by a data scientist and an orthopaedic surgeon are of paramount importance. Level of evidence: Level IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1323-1333
Number of pages11
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Knee arthroscopy
  • Knee surgery
  • Machine learning
  • Supervised learning
  • Total knee arthroplasty


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