A ligament tensor-guided extramedullary alignment technique for distal femoral cut in total knee replacement: results at a minimum 3 years follow-up

Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2021 Dec;141(12):2295-2302. doi: 10.1007/s00402-021-04115-4. Epub 2021 Aug 12.


Background: Femoral intramedullary canal referencing is used by most knee arthroplasty systems for distal femoral cut; to avoid the opening of the femoral canal different solutions have been presented such as navigation, patient-specific instruments (PSI) or the use of an extramedullary device. The FuZion® system is a tensor device, created to merge the two main techniques for performing a total knee arthroplasty: the ligament balancing and measured resection techniques. Our idea was to use the tensor as an extramedullary cutting guide for the distal femoral cut, based on a 90° tibial resection.

Methods: A total of 110 patients were operated on with this technique. Patients were evaluated with weight-bearing long-standing X-rays, knee a-p and lateral views, validated PROMs (Oxford Knee Score, EQ-5D and EQ-VAS), the Knee Society Scoring System (KSS) and the Forgotten Joint Score (FJS). Minimum follow up was 3 years (range 38-50 months).

Results: Complete results were available for 104 patients (5 were lost in follow up and 1 died). Significant improvements were registered for all the evaluated scores from pre-op to the final follow up. Pre-op long-standing X-rays showed 21 valgus knees (20%) with a mean HKA of 187.6° (± 3.2°), 70 varus knees (62%) with a mean 172.2° (± 3.7°) HKA and 19 neutrally aligned knees, with a mean HKA of 179.5° (0 ± 2°). The radiographic evaluation at 3 months post-op showed 20 valgus knees (mean HKA 183.7° ± 1.5°), 67 varus knees (mean HKA 176.1° ± 1.8°) and 23 neutrally aligned knees with a mean HKA of 179.3° (0 ± 2°). At final follow up the survival rate was 100% for revision of the implant as the endpoint. With any reoperation as the endpoint Kaplan-Meier survival estimate showed a survival rate of 95.1% at 3 years.

Conclusions: This technique for performing a ligament driven alignment in total knee arthroplasty showed encouraging clinical outcomes at mid-term follow up leaving a residual deformity on the coronal plane.

Keywords: Alignment; Extramedullary; Ligaments; Tensor; Total knee replacement.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Ligaments
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / surgery