JOURNAL ARTICLE

Relationship between the tibial anteroposterior axis and the surgical epicondylar axis in varus and valgus knees

Shinya Kawahara, Shuichi Matsuda, Ken Okazaki, Yasutaka Tashiro, Hiroaki Mitsuyasu, Hiroyuki Nakahara, Yukihide Iwamoto
Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy 2012, 20 (10): 2077-81
22205094

PURPOSE: Proper rotational alignment in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is essential for successful outcomes. The surgical epicondylar axis (SEA) has been frequently used to determine the femoral rotational alignment, and the anteroposterior (AP) axis of the tibia described in previous study has been introduced as a line perpendicular to the SEA in healthy knees. However, the rotational relationship between the distal femur and the proximal tibia would vary between normal and osteoarthritic knees, and a question remains whether the rotational relationship between the SEA and the AP axis of the tibia would be the same between normal and osteoarthritic knees. This study aims to determine whether the AP axis of the tibia is actually perpendicular to the SEA and useful for the tibial rotational alignment also in osteoarthritic knees.

METHODS: Preoperative computed tomography scans on 25 varus and 25 valgus knees undergoing TKA were studied. The SEA and the AP axis of the tibia were identified using a three-dimensional software, and the angle between the line perpendicular to the projected SEA and the AP axis was measured.

RESULTS: The AP axis of the tibia was 1.7° ± 4.3° and 2.0° ± 4.0° internally rotated relative to the line perpendicular to the SEA in the varus and valgus groups, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The AP axis of the tibia was, on average, perpendicular to the SEA in both varus and valgus knees. The AP axis would be useful for setting the tibial component with minimal rotational mismatch.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: IV.

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