The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 7 , 2293 - 2300

Second-Generation Electronic Ligament Balancing for Knee Arthroplasty: A Cadaver Study

Nielsen, Evan S. et al.
Knee

Background

Knee instability is emerging as a major complication after total knee arthroplasty (TKA), with ligament laxity and component alignment listed as important contributory factors. Knee balancing remains an art and is largely dependent on the surgeon’s subjective “feel.” The objectives were to measure the accuracy of an electronic balancing device to document the magnitude of correction in knee balance after soft-tissue releases and measure change in knee laxity after medial release.

Methods

The accuracy of a second-generation electronic ligament-balancing device was compared with that of 2 mechanical balancing instruments. TKA was performed in 12 cadaver knees. Soft-tissue balance was measured sequentially before TKA, after mounting a trial femoral component, after medial release, and after resecting the posterior cruciate ligament. Coronal laxity of the knee under a 10 Nm valgus moment was measured before and after medial release.

Results

The electronic balancing instrument was more accurate than mechanical instruments in measuring distracted gap and distraction force. On average, before TKA, the flexion gap was wider than the extension gap, and the medial gap was tighter than the lateral gap. Medial release increased the medial gap in flexion and increased passive knee valgus laxity. Posterior cruciate ligament release increased the tibiofemoral gap in both flexion and extension with a greater increase in the lateral gap.

Conclusion

The second-generation electronic balancing device was significantly more accurate than mechanical instruments and could record knee balance over the entire range of flexion. More accurate soft-tissue balance may enhance outcomes after TKA.


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