Bone and Joint Institute

Effect of Soft Tissue Releases on Joint Space Opening in Total Knee Arthroplasty

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Journal of Arthroplasty





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© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Background The purpose of this study was to determine the gap achieved to the medial and lateral compartments following sectioning and release of the relevant soft tissues in preparation for a total knee arthroplasty. Methods A custom-designed knee tensioner allowed the application of forces to the medial and lateral compartments of 12 cadaveric knee specimens. Loads of 100 N and 200 N were applied to each compartment, and the resulting displacement was measured in the following conditions: (1) All soft tissues intact, (2) an arthrotomy, (3) anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sectioned, (4) posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) sectioned, and (5) release of the anterior aspect of the deep medial collateral ligament (MCL) fibers. Tensions were applied for all conditions from 90° to 0° of knee flexion in 30° increments. Results No differences were found in medial or lateral displacement after the arthrotomy or releasing the ACL or PCL at either 100 N or 200 N. At the 100 N load application, there was a significant increase in gap width when the anterior portion of the deep MCL was released (7.49 mm) compared to the intact (5.28 mm) and arthrotomy (5.75 mm) conditions. With respect to the 200 N load application, there were statistically significant differences detected between the deep MCL fiber release (11.09 mm) and intact conditions (8.05 mm) and release of the deep MCL and arthrotomy conditions (8.77 mm). Conclusion The medial parapetellar arthrotomy, ACL and PCL sectioning did not result in medial or lateral displacement changes. The release of the anterior fibers of the deep MCL as part of the surgical exposure increased the medial gap magnitude.

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