3D-surface scan based validated new measurement technique of femoral joint line reconstruction in total knee arthroplasty

Purpose: This study aimed to validate a new joint line measurement technique in total knee arthroplasty for separated assessment of the medial and lateral femoral joint line alteration with 3D-surface scan technology. Separate assessment of the medial and lateral joint line alteration may improve TKA alignment assessment regarding to joint line restoration in kinematic alignment and use of robotic-assisted TKA surgery.

Methods: The medial and lateral joint line difference after TKA implantation on an artificial bone model was analyzed and compared with a 3D-scan and full femoral radiographs pre- and postoperatively. Radiographic analysis included the perpendicular distance between the most distal point of the medial and lateral condyle and the reproduced preoperative lateral distal femoral angle (LDFA). For evaluation of validity and reliability, radiographs were captured initially with true anteroposterior view and subsequently with combined flexion and rotation malpositioning. Reliability of the introduced measurement technique in between three observers was tested with intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).

Results: Radiographic measurement showed a mean difference of 0.9 mm on the medial side and 0.6 mm on the lateral side when compared to the 3D-surface scan measurement. The reliability of measurement accuracy was ≤ 1 mm in x-rays with < 10° flexion error regardless to malrotation in these images. The ICC test showed very good reliability for the medial joint line evaluation and good reliability for lateral joint line evaluation (ICC 0.92, ICC 0.86 respectively).

Conclusion: The new introduced joint line measurement method showed a sufficient reliability, accuracy and precision. It provides separated information about medial and lateral joint line alteration in TKA surgery in absolute values.

Level of evidence: V – Experimental Study.

Keywords: Femoral mechanical angle; Joint line; Kinematic alignment; Radiographic assessment; Total knee arthroplasty.