The position and orientation of total knee replacement components: a comparison of conventional radiographs, transverse 2D-CT slices and 3D-CT reconstruction

M T Hirschmann, P Konala, F Amsler, F Iranpour, N F Friederich, J P Cobb
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. British Volume 2011, 93 (5): 629-33
We studied the intra- and interobserver reliability of measurements of the position of the components after total knee replacement (TKR) using a combination of radiographs and axial two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) reconstructed CT images to identify which method is best for this purpose. A total of 30 knees after primary TKR were assessed by two independent observers (an orthopaedic surgeon and a radiologist) using radiographs and CT scans. Plain radiographs were highly reliable at measuring the tibial slope, but showed wide variability for all other measurements; 2D-CT also showed wide variability. 3D-CT was highly reliable, even when measuring rotation of the femoral components, and significantly better than 2D-CT. Interobserver variability in the measurements on radiographs were good (intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) 0.65 to 0.82), but rotational measurements on 2D-CT were poor (ICC 0.29). On 3D-CT they were near perfect (ICC 0.89 to 0.99), and significantly more reliable than 2D-CT (p < 0.001). 3D-reconstructed images are sufficiently reliable to enable reporting of the position and orientation of the components. Rotational measurements in particular should be performed on 3D-reconstructed CT images. When faced with a poorly functioning TKR with concerns over component positioning, we recommend 3D-CT as the investigation of choice.

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