Background: A number of trials have shown improved radiological alignment following total knee arthroplasty using computer-assisted surgery (CAS) compared with conventional surgery. Few studies, however, have looked at functional outcomes.
Methods: We prospectively studied a cohort of 107 patients that underwent TKA by a single surgeon. Patients were randomised into 3 groups: computer-assisted surgery for both the femur and the tibia, intramedullary guides for both the femur and the tibia, and an intramedullary guide for the femur and an extramedullary guide for the tibia. Patients were followed-up post-operatively with the Short Form Health Survey (SF-12) and Oxford Knee Score (OKS) questionnaires.
Results: At a median follow-up of 46 months (range 30-69 months), there was a trend towards higher OKS results in the CAS group, with a mean score of 40.6 in the CAS group compared to 37.6 in the extramedullary group and 36.8 in the intramedullary group. The difference seen in the OKS between CAS and the conventional groups had a significant unadjusted p-value (0.024), and approached significance when adjusted for age and sex (0.054). There was a significant improvement in the OKS when the mechanical axis was within ±3° of neutral, versus those outside this range (median of 41.0 compared to 38.3, p=0.045).
Discussion: This study shows that clinically significant differences are being seen in functional scores of patients treated with CAS versus conventional guides, at medium-term follow up. Our findings reinforce the tenet that a coronal mechanical axis of within 3° of neutral equates to significantly better functional outcomes.
Keywords: Computer-assisted surgery; Functional outcomes; Total knee arthroplasty.
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