The impact of different alignment strategies on bone cuts for neutral knee phenotypes in total knee arthroplasty

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2023 Apr;31(4):1267-1275. doi: 10.1007/s00167-022-07209-7. Epub 2022 Nov 3.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to simulate and visualise the influence of the alignment strategy on bone resection in neutral knee phenotypes. It was hypothesised that different amounts of bone resection would be required depending on the alignment strategy chosen. The hypothesis was that by visualising the corresponding bone cuts, it would be possible to assess which of the different alignment strategies required the least change to the soft tissues for the chosen phenotype but still ensured acceptable component alignment and could, therefore, be considered the most ideal alignment strategy.

Methods: Simulations of the different alignment strategies (mechanical, anatomical, restricted kinematic and unrestricted kinematic) regarding their bone resections were performed on four common exemplary neutral knee phenotypes. NEUHKA0° VARFMA 90° VALTMA90°, NEUHKA0° NEUFMA 93° NEUTMA87°, NEUHKA0° VALFMA 96° NEUTMA87° and NEUHKA0° VALFMA 99° VARTMA84°. The phenotype system used categorises knees based on overall limb alignment (i.e. hip knee angle) but also considers joint line obliquity (i.e. TKA and FMA) and has been used globally since its introduction in 2019. These simulations are based on long leg weightbearing radiographs. It is assumed that a change of 1° in the alignment of the joint line corresponds to correspond to 1 mm of distal condyle offset.

Results: In the most common neutral phenotype NEUHKA0° NEUFMA 93° NEUTMA87°, with a prevalence of 30%, bone cuts remain below 4 mm regardless of alignment strategy. The greatest changes in the obliquity of the joint line can be expected for the mechanical alignment of the phenotype NEUHKA0° VALFMA 99° VARTMA84° where the medial tibia is raised by 6 mm and the lateral femur is shifted distally by 9 mm. In contrast, the NEUHKA0° VARFMA 90° VALTMA90° phenotype requires no change in joint line obliquity if the mechanical alignment strategy is used.

Conclusion: Illustrations of alignment strategies help the treating surgeon to estimate the postoperative joint line obliquity. When considering the alignment strategy, it seems reasonable to prefer a strategy where the joint line obliquity is changed as little as possible. Although for the most common neutral knee phenotype the choice of alignment strategy seems to be of negligible importance, in general, even for neutral phenotypes, large differences in bone cuts can be observed depending on the choice of alignment strategy.

Keywords: Alignment; Anatomical; Arthroplasty; Bone cuts; Kinematic; Knee; Mechanical; Phenotype; Restricted; TKA.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Femur / surgery
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Lower Extremity / surgery
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / surgery
  • Phenotype
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tibia / surgery