Posterior cruciate ligament removal contributes to abnormal knee motion during posterior stabilized total knee arthroplastyMelinda J. Cromie Robert A. Siston Nicholas J. Giori Scott L. Delp
Abnormal anterior translation of the femur on the tibia has been observed in mid flexion (20–60°) following posterior stabilized total knee arthroplasty. The underlying biomechanical causes of this abnormal motion remain unknown. The purpose of this study was to isolate the effects of posterior cruciate ligament removal on knee motion after total knee arthroplasty. We posed two questions: Does removing the posterior cruciate ligament introduce abnormal anterior femoral translation? Does implanting a posterior stabilized prosthesis change the kinematics from the cruciate deficient case? Using a navigation system, we measured passive knee kinematics of ten male osteoarthritic patients during surgery after initial exposure, after removing the anterior cruciate ligament, after removing the posterior cruciate ligament, and after implanting the prosthesis. Passively flexing and extending the knee, we calculated anterior femoral translation and the flexion angle at which femoral rollback began. Removing the posterior cruciate ligament doubled anterior translation (from 5.1 ± 4.3 mm to 10.4 ± 5.1 mm) and increased the flexion angle at which femoral rollback began (from 31.2 ± 9.6° to 49.3 ± 7.3°). Implanting the prosthesis increased the amount of anterior translation (to 16.1 ± 4.4 mm), and did not change the flexion angle at which femoral rollback began. Abnormal anterior translation was observed in low and mid flexion (0–60°) after removing the posterior cruciate ligament, and normal motion was not restored by the posterior stabilized prosthesis.