Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy August 2016, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 2517–2524

No condylar lift-off occurs because of excessive lateral soft tissue laxity in neutrally aligned total knee arthroplasty: a computer simulation study

Kuriyama, S., Ishikawa, M., Nakamura, S. et al.
Knee

Purpose

Condylar lift-off can induce excessive polyethylene wear after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). A computer simulation was used to evaluate the influence of femoral varus alignment and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) laxity on lift-off after single-design TKA. It was hypothesised that proper ligament balancing and coronal alignment would prevent lift-off.

 

Methods

The computer model in this study is a dynamic musculoskeletal program that simulates gait up to 60° of knee flexion. The lift-off phenomenon was defined as positive with an intercomponent distance of >2 mm. In neutrally aligned components in the coronal plane, the femoral and tibial components were set perpendicular to the femoral and tibial mechanical axis, respectively. The femoral coronal alignment was changed from neutral to 5° varus in 1° increments. Simultaneously, the LCL length was elongated from 0 to 5 mm in 1-mm increments to provide a model of pathological slack.

Results

Within 2° of femoral varus alignment, lift-off did not occur even if the LCL was elongated by up to 5 mm. However, lift-off occurred easily in the stance phase in femoral varus alignments of >3° with slight LCL slack. The contact forces of the tibiofemoral joint were influenced more by femoral varus alignment than by LCL laxity.

 

Conclusions

Aiming for neutral alignment in severely varus knees makes it difficult to achieve appropriate ligament balance. Our study suggests that no lift-off occurs with excessive LCL laxity alone in a neutrally aligned TKA and therefore that varus alignment should be avoided to decrease lift-off after TKA.

 

Level of evidence

Case series, Level IV.


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