The Knee, ISSN: 1873-5800, Vol: 19, Issue: 3, Page: 185-9

Effects of cartilage remnants of the posterior femoral condyles on femoral component rotation in varus knee osteoarthritis

Asada, Shigeki; Akagi, Masao; Matsushita, Tetsunao; Hashimoto, Kazuki; Mori, Shigeshi; Hamanishi, Chiaki

Preoperative planning of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) based on computerized tomography (CT) data can produce a femoral rotational error due to lack of information on the femoral cartilage thickness. The research question of this study is how much femoral rotational error is expected due to the cartilage remnants when using the posterior condylar angles (PCA, angle between the posterior condylar line and the surgical epicondylar axis (SEA)) on CT data. CT arthrography was performed for 35 consecutive varus osteoarthritic knees in 31 patients who underwent TKA, on which the cartilage thicknesses of the posterior femoral condyles were measured. The PCAs when including or excluding the cartilage remnants were also measured. The cartilage thicknesses of the medial and lateral posterior condyles averaged 0.39 mm (SD = 0.53) and 1.55 mm (SD = 0.26), respectively (p < 0.0001). When the cartilage was included or excluded, the PCA averaged 2.2° (SD = 1.5) and 3.3° (SD = 1.5), respectively (p = 0.002). The cartilage remnants in the posterior femoral condyles produced an average of 1.1° and a maximum of 2.1° of additional femoral external rotation when using CT data for the preoperative planning. CT scan measurements of femoral rotation are subject to error. Although this is said to be small and within the safety margin for setting the femoral component parallel to the trans-epicondylar axis, this difference should be considered by surgeons who use the posterior condylar axis, in order to avoid excessive external rotation of the femoral component.

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