© 2016 The Author(s). Background: Most patients have favorable outcomes after primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Well-validated methods to predict the risk of poor outcomes have not been developed or implemented. Several patients have annual clinic visits despite well-funcitoning TKA, as a routine practice, to detect early failure requiring revision surgery. It is not known whether assessment of pain and function can be used as a predictive tool for early failure and revision to guide practice. Our objective was to determine whether pain and function can predict revision after TKA. Methods: We retrospectively studied data from a large prospectively gathered TKA registry to examine changes in outcome scores for primary TKAs undergoing revision compared to those not requiring revision to determine the factors that are predictive for revision. Results: Of the 1,012 patients, 721 had had a single-sided primary TKA and had American Knee Society (AKS) Scores for three or more visits. 46 patients underwent revision, 23 acutely (fracture, traumatic component failure or acute infection) and 23 for latent causes (late implant loosening, progressive osteolysis, or pain and indolent infection). Mean age was 70 years for the non-revision patients, and 64 years for those revised. Both AKS Clinical and AKS Function Scores for non-revised patients were higher than in revision patients, higher in acute revision compared to latent revision patients. Significant predictors of revision surgery were preoperative, 3- and 15-month postoperative AKS Clinical Scores and 3-month AKS Function Scores. At 15-month post-TKA, a patient with a low calculated probability of revision, 32 % or less, was unlikely to require revision surgery with a negative predictive value of 99 %. Conclusion: Time dependent interval evaluation post-TKA with the AKS outcome scores may provide the ability to assign risk of revision to patients at the 15-month follow-up visit. If these findings can be replicated using a patient-reported measure, a virtual follow-up with patient-reported outcomes and X-ray review may be an alternative to clinic visit for patients doing well.