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Achieving Accurate Ligament Balancing Using Robotic-Assisted Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty

DOI: 10.1155/2013/837167

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Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) allows replacement of a single compartment in patients with limited disease. However, UKA is technically challenging and relies on accurate component positioning and restoration of natural knee kinematics. This study examined the accuracy of dynamic, real-time ligament balancing using a robotic-assisted UKA system. Surgical data obtained from the computer system were prospectively collected from 51 patients (52 knees) undergoing robotic-assisted medial UKA by a single surgeon. Dynamic ligament balancing of the knee was obtained under valgus stress prior to component implantation and then compared to final ligament balance with the components in place. Ligament balancing was accurate up to 0.53?mm compared to the preoperative plan, with 83% of cases within 1?mm at 0°, 30°, 60°, 90°, and 110° of flexion. Ligamentous laxity of ?mm at 30° of flexion was corrected successfully to ?mm ( ). Robotic-assisted UKA allows accurate and precise reproduction of a surgical balance plan using dynamic, real-time soft-tissue balancing to help restore natural knee kinematics, potentially improving implant survival and functional outcomes. 1. Introduction Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) has seen resurgence in the past decade with approximately 51,300 cases performed in 2009 and an estimated growth of 32.5% annually [1–3]. Benefits of UKA compared to total knee arthroplasty include reduced blood loss, reduced perioperative morbidity, faster recovery, shorter rehabilitation, increased postoperative range of motion, and reduced surgical cost [4–9]. However, proper patient selection is vital and the procedure remains technically demanding as the minimally invasive procedure limits surgical exposure and impedes precise component alignment and fixation [3, 6, 10–14]. UKA failures have mainly been attributed to improper component alignment leading to altered knee biomechanics with accelerated polyethylene wear if deformity is undercorrected, disease progression in other compartments if overcorrected, and anterior knee pain [6, 8, 15–17]. UKA component position and alignment are intricately associated with soft-tissue balancing during this procedure. UKA allows for minimal disruption of the patient’s native anatomy and is intended to restore the normal height of the affected compartment to produce normal ligament tension during the flexion-extension cycle. The success of UKA relies on proper soft-tissue tensioning to obtain a balanced flexion-extension gap and varus-valgus stability [14]. While advances in surgical instrumentation

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