Varus or valgus positioning of the tibial component of a unicompartmental fixed-bearing knee arthroplasty does not increase wear. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 28, 3016–3021 (2020).

Varus or valgus positioning of the tibial component of a unicompartmental fixed-bearing knee arthroplasty does not increase wear

Woiczinski, M., Schröder, C., Paulus, A. et al.
Knee

Purpose

Higher revision rates were shown in varus- or valgus-positioned tibias in unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA), but more than 15% of UKA prostheses are implanted with more than 5° of varus or valgus. This study aimed to analyze the wear rate in UKA when implanting the tibial component in either varus or valgus position versus a neutral placement at 90° to the tibial anatomical axis. The study hypothesized that a 5° varus or valgus positioning of the tibial plateau will generate less wear compared to a neutral alignment.

Methods

Wear was experimentally analyzed on a medial anatomical fixed-bearing unicompartmental knee prosthesis (Univation, Aesculap, Germany) in vitro with a customized, four-station, servohydraulic knee wear simulator, reproducing the walking cycle. The forces, loading and range of motion were applied as specified in the ISO 14243–1:2002, 5 million cycles were analyzed. The tibial components of the medial prostheses were inserted in a neutral position, with 5° varus, and 5° valgus (n = 3, each group).

Results

The wear rate decreased significantly with a 5° varus positioning (6.30 ± 1.38 mg/million cycles) and a 5° valgus positioning (4.96 ± 2.47 mg/million cycles) compared to the neutral position (12.16 ± 1.26 mg/million cycles) (p < 0.01 for the varus and the valgus position). The wear area on the inlay was slightly reduced in the varus and valgus group.

Conclusion

A varus or valgus “malpositioning” up to 5° will not lead to an increased wear. Wear was even less because of the reduced articulating contact area between the inlay and the femur. A slight varus positioning of the tibial component (parallel to the anatomical joint line) positioning can be advocated from a point of wear.

Level of evidence

Experimental study.


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