Angular limit for coronal joint deformity correction using intramedullary guidance in total knee arthroplasty. A pilot study

SICOT J. 2020;6:22. doi: 10.1051/sicotj/2020019. Epub 2020 Jun 24.


Introduction: Post-operative misalignment of the lower limb mechanical axis following total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is thought to be associated with clinical failure. In a balanced knee, a neutral global mechanical axis following the use of intra-medullary (IM) guidance does not necessarily imply a horizontal TKA joint line. Using femoral and tibial axes separately would be more accurate in evaluating TKA alignment. Thus, the aim of the study is to define a pre-operative mechanical tibial and/or femoral angle threshold value for post-operative optimal alignment correction using IM guides.

Methods: This single-center prospective continuous pilot study included 50 patients treated with a TKA for primitive osteoarthritis. Femoral and tibial cuts were performed using intramedullary (IM) guide. Three angles were calculated and analyzed pre and post-operatively on standing antero-posterior views using long-leg radiographs: femorotibial angle (FTA), mechanical femoral angle (MFA), and mechanical tibial angle (MTA). Statistical analysis was performed for the whole sample and for the three following FTA subgroups; normo-axial, varus and valgus.

Results: The pre-operative MTA is the only parameter for which a threshold value was observed; when pre-operative MTA exceeded the value of 94°, an optimal correction might not be obtained post-operatively.

Discussion: Our results suggest that the bony correction obtained via IM guiding depends exclusively on the primary deformation of the tibia. In cases of a varus of more than 94°, the IM guide was found to yield sub-optimal corrections. Thus, other solutions need to be investigated.

Keywords: Coronal deformity; Correlation; Knee valgus; Knee varus; Total knee arthroplasty.