Does the Use of Intraoperative Technology Yield Superior Patient Outcomes Following Total Knee Arthroplasty?

Introduction: There is debate regarding whether the use of computer-assisted technology, such as navigation and robotics, has any benefit on outcomes or patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). This study aims to report on the association between intraoperative use of technology and outcomes in patients who underwent primary TKA.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 7096 patients who underwent primary TKA from 2016-2020. Patients were stratified depending on the technology utilized: navigation, robotics, or no technology. Patient demographics, clinical data, Forgotten Joint Score-12 (FJS), and Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for Joint Replacement (KOOS, JR) were collected at various time points up to 1-year follow-up. Demographic differences were assessed with chi-square and ANOVA. Clinical data and PROMs were compared using univariate ANCOVA, controlling for demographic differences.

Results: A total of 287(4%) navigation, 367(5%) robotics, and 6442(91%) manual cases were included. Surgical-time significantly differed between the three groups (113.33 vs 117.44 vs 102.11; P < .001). Discharge disposition significantly differed between the three groups (P < .001), with more manual TKA patients discharged to a skilled nursing facility (12% vs 8% vs 15%; P < .001) than those who had technology utilized. FJS scores did not statistically differ at three-months (P = .067) and one-year (P = .221). We found significant statistical differences in three-month KOOS, JR scores (59.48 vs 60.10 vs 63.64; P = .001); however, one-year scores did not statistically differ between all groups (P = .320).

Conclusion: This study demonstrates shorter operative-time in cases with no utilization of technology and clinically similar PROMs associated with TKAs performed between all modalities. While the use of technology may aid surgeons, it has not currently translated to better short-term outcomes.

Level iii evidence: Retrospective Cohort.

Keywords: navigation; outcomes; patient-reported outcome measures; robotics; technology; total knee arthroplasty.