Purpose: Neutral lower limb alignment does not necessarily produce a horizontal joint line after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The orientation of the pre- and postoperative tibial mechanical axes (TMAs-G), tibial component, and joint line relative to the ground were evaluated. Methods: The study group included 46 knees, 23 posterior-stabilized (PS) and 23 bicruciate-stabilized (BCS) TKAs. Using whole-leg standing radiographs, the static orientation of the pre- and postoperative TMAs-G and the tibial component as well as the postoperative alignment were measured. Applying image-matching techniques, the dynamic coronal orientation of the tibial component and joint line over the stance phase of gait were analysed. The correlation between static and dynamic orientation of the tibial component and differences in the joint line between the PS and BCS TKAs were evaluated. Results: In standing, the postoperative TMA-G (0.8° ± 2.8°) and tibial component (1.5° ± 2.4°) were laterally tilted with a strong correlation. The preoperative lateral tilt of the TMA-G (7.9° ± 5.1°) was a significant predictor of the postoperative TMA-G. The lateral tilt of the tibial component increased to 5.1° ± 2.4° on dynamic analysis, and was moderately correlated to static orientation. The dynamic orientation of the joint line was smaller for the BCS (1.8° ± 2.4°) compared to the PS (5.5° ± 2.7°) TKA. Conclusion: Even with a mechanically well-aligned TKA, a lateral tilt of the tibial component was identified due to the lateral tilt of the postoperative TMA-G and the stance phase of gait. The BCS can better accommodate the residual lateral tilt of the joint line due to the 3° medial inclination of the joint surfaces of the implant. This study increases the awareness of surgeons regarding the possibility of the coronal joint line orientation to influence preoperative TMA-G and be accommodated by articular surface design, even in mechanically aligned TKA. Level of evidence: IV.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine