The Effect of Posterior Cruciate Ligament Release on Kinematics and Outcomes in Primary Total Knee Arthroplasty With a Dual-Pivot Conforming Polyethylene

J Arthroplasty. 2022 Jun;37(6S):S231-S237. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2022.02.061. Epub 2022 Feb 22.


Background: Ultracongruent bearings are increasingly utilized in total knee arthroplasty (TKA); however, implications of surgical technique on knee kinematics and outcomes with these bearings are not well understood. This study's purpose was to evaluate the relationship of 3-dimensional knee kinematics and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in a dual-pivot congruent bearing TKA with and without posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) release.

Methods: Forty patients undergoing TKA with an asymmetric ultracongruent bearing were prospectively enrolled for gait analysis preoperatively and 4 months postoperatively. Three-dimensional gait analysis was performed utilizing infrared motion capture. Knee kinematic data and PCL disposition were analyzed for correlations with PROMs.

Results: The PCL was fully released in 52.5% (21/40) of cases. Greater maximum anteroposterior femoral translation correlated with lower Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for Joint Replacement (rho = -0.596, P = .012), greater Knee Society Score pain with level walking (rho = 0.411, P = .101), and greater Knee Society Score pain while climbing stairs (rho = 0.469, P = .058) at 4-month follow-up. The PCL-release group was associated with greater maximum femoral anteroposterior translation (9.8 vs 5.5 mm, P = .053) and greater maximum internal tibial rotation (-6.2° vs -3.0°, P = .040), supporting a more anterior-based position of the medial condyle. The PCL released group had lower median Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for Joint Replacement scores (70.7 vs 76.3, P = .031) and reported that their knees "sometimes or always" feel normal less frequently (81.8% vs 92.3%, P = .576).

Conclusion: With this asymmetric ultracongruent bearing TKA, preservation or partial titration release of the PCL, as opposed to full PCL release, appears to minimize deleterious anterior femoral translation and internal tibial rotation, which is correlated with optimized patient-reported outcomes.

Level of evidence: II.

Keywords: PCL; PROMS; gait analysis; patient outcomes; posterior cruciate ligament; total knee arthroplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee* / methods
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries* / surgery
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Knee Prosthesis*
  • Osteoarthritis* / surgery
  • Pain / surgery
  • Polyethylene
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament* / surgery
  • Range of Motion, Articular


  • Polyethylene