J Orthop Surg Res 16, 205 (2021).

Tibial cutting guide (resector) holding pins position and subsequent risks of periprosthetic fracture in unicompartmental knee arthroplasty: a finite element analysis study

Chui, E.Cs., Lau, L.Cm., Kwok, C.Kb. et al.


Periprosthetic fracture of the tibia after unicompartmental knee arthroplasty has been reported to be associated with excessive pin holes created for stabilization of the cutting guide. However, fractures have also been reported in cases using two pins as in the method suggested by the manufacturer. It is currently unclear whether variations in pinhole positions make a difference in proximal tibial fracture risk.


Finite element models were constructed using Chinese female bone computed tomography images, with bone cuts made according to the surgical steps of implanting a fixed bearing unicompartmental arthroplasty. Four combinations of pinholes (pins placed more closely to the medial tibial cortex or centrally along the mechanical axis as allowed by the tibial cutting guide) created for tibial cutting guide placement were tested by finite element analyses. Testing loads were applied for simulating standing postures. The maximum von Mises stress on the tibial plateau was evaluated.


Pinhole placed close to the medial edge of the proximal tibial plateau is associated with the highest stress (27.67 Mpa) and is more likely to result in medial tibial fracture. On the contrary, pinhole placed along the central axis near the tibial tuberosity has the lowest stress (1.71 Mpa) and reflects lower risk of fracture.


The present study revealed that placing tibial cutting guide holding pins centrally would lower the risks of periprosthetic fracture of the medial tibial plateau by analyzing the associated stress in various pin hole positions using finite element analysis.

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