The intraoperative gap difference (flexion gap minus extension gap) is altered by insertion of the trial femoral componentHananouchi, Takehito; Yamamoto, Kengo; Ando, Wataru; Fudo, Kazumasa; Ohzono, Kenji
A Tensor/Balancer device has been recently developed in order to assess soft tissue balancing in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) under more physiological conditions. This device allows us to measure the joint gap with a trial femoral component in place with the patella reduced. The purpose of this study was to clarify whether the placement of the component changes the intraoperative gap difference (flexion gap distance minus extension gap distance). We prospectively investigated the extension (0°) and flexion (90°) gaps in 73 posterior-stabilized TKAs under 30 lb of joint distraction force. Then, we compared the gap difference with and without the trial femoral component in place. Our results showed that the intraoperative gap difference with the trial femoral component in place was larger than the intraoperative gap difference without the trial component (p = 0.00003; with the trial component: mean 4.7 mm (standard deviation (SD): 3.0 mm); without the trial component: mean 2.7 mm (SD: 3.3 mm)). We consider that the change in gap difference with or without femoral component was caused by a relative difference in the elasticity and/or tightness of the soft tissue in extension versus flexion. Surgeons should be aware of this effect of the femoral component when considering intraoperative soft tissue balancing which leads to postoperative stability of the knee joint consequently.