Bone Joint J 2019;101-B:565–572.

A randomized controlled trial investigating the value of patient-specific instrumentation for total knee arthroplasty in the Canadian healthcare system

M. G. Teeter, J. D. Marsh, J. L. Howard, X. Yuan, E. M. Vasarhelyi, R. W. McCalden, D. D. R. Naudie


The purpose of the present study was to compare patient-specific instrumentation (PSI) and conventional surgical instrumentation (CSI) for total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in terms of early implant migration, alignment, surgical resources, patient outcomes, and costs.

Patients and Methods

The study was a prospective, randomized controlled trial of 50 patients undergoing TKA. There were 25 patients in each of the PSI and CSI groups. There were 12 male patients in the PSI group and seven male patients in the CSI group. The patients had a mean age of 69.0 years (sd 8.4) in the PSI group and 69.4 years (sd 8.4) in the CSI group. All patients received the same TKA implant. Intraoperative surgical resources and any surgical waste generated were recorded. Patients underwent radiostereometric analysis (RSA) studies to measure femoral and tibial component migration over two years. Outcome measures were recorded pre- and postoperatively. Overall costs were calculated for each group.


There were no differences (p > 0.05) in any measurement of migration at two years for either the tibial or femoral components. Movement between one and two years was < 0.2 mm, indicating stable fixation. There were no differences in coronal or sagittal alignment between the two groups. The PSI group took a mean 6.1 minutes longer (p = 0.04) and used a mean 3.4 less trays (p < 0.0001). Total waste generated was similar (10 kg) between the two groups. The PSI group cost a mean CAD$1787 more per case (p < 0.01).


RSA criteria suggest that both groups will have revision rates of approximately 3% at five years. The advantages of PSI were minimal or absent for surgical resources used and waste eliminated, and for meeting target alignment, yet had significantly greater costs. Therefore, we conclude that PSI may not offer any advantage over CSI for routine primary TKA cases.

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