The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 27, Issue 3, 341 - 346

Magnitude of Limb Lengthening After Primary Total Knee Arthroplasty

Lang, Jason E. et al.

Patients will often perceive a change in lower limb length after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). From this observed finding, we asked how frequently does a change in limb length occur after TKA. Preoperative and postoperative full-length standing radiographs were obtained for 102 knees in 98 patients who underwent TKA. Digital radiography software was used to measure the mechanical axis and limb length of the operative and nonoperative legs. Overall, 83% of the knees measured showed an increase in limb length after TKA. Preoperative varus alignment was associated with an average lengthening of 5.2 mm. Preoperative valgus alignment was associated with an average lengthening of 8.4 mm. Patients with a valgus deformity greater than 10° demonstrated the greatest average lengthening. It is the conclusion of this study that limb lengthening occurs frequently after TKA, back to a length similar to the nonoperative limb.

Download article