Intraoperative Load Sensing in Total Knee Arthroplasty Leads to a Functional but Not Clinical Difference: A Comparative, Gait Analysis Evaluation

J Funct Morphol Kinesiol. 2022 Feb 18;7(1):23. doi: 10.3390/jfmk7010023.


Introduction: Although Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA) is a successful procedure, a significant number of patients are still unsatisfied, reporting instability at the mid-flexion range (Mid-Flexion Instability-MFI). To avoid this complication, many innovations, including load sensors (LS), have been introduced. The intraoperative use of LS may facilitate the balance of the knee during the entire range of motion to avoid MFI postoperatively. The objective of this study was to perform a Gait Analysis (GA) evaluation of a series of patients who underwent primary TKA using a single LS technology.

Methods: The authors matched and compared two groups of patients treated with the same posterior stabilized TKA design. In Group A, 10 knees were intraoperatively balanced with LS technology, while 10 knees (Group B) underwent standard TKA. The correct TKA alignment was preoperatively determined aiming for a mechanical alignment. Clinical evaluation was performed according to the WOMAC, Knee Society Score (KSS) and Forgotten Joint Score, while functional evaluation was performed using a state-of-the-art GA platform.

Results: We reported excellent clinical results in both groups without any statistical difference in patient reported outcome measurements (PROMs); from a functional standpoint, several GA space-time parameters were closer to normal in the sensor group when compared to the standard group, but a statistically significant difference was not reached.

Conclusions: Gait Analysis represents a valid method to evaluate TKA kinematics. This study, with its limitations, showed that pressure sensitive technology represents a valid aid for surgeons aiming to improve the postoperative stability of TKA; however, other factors (i.e., level of intra-articular constraint and alignment) may play a major role in reproducing the normal knee biomechanics.

Keywords: TKA; biomechanics; gait analysis; kinematics; knee; knee balance; load sensor; mid-flexion instability; sensor; total knee arthroplasty.