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Tibial tray rotation and posterior slope increase risk for outliers in coronal alignment

a virtual modelling investigation

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The extensive variation in axial rotation of tibial components can lead to coronal plane malalignment. We analyzed the change in coronal alignment induced by tray malrotation.


We constructed a computer model of knee arthroplasty and used a virtual cutting guide to cut the tibia at 90° to the coronal plane. The virtual guide was rotated axially (15° medial to 15° lateral) and with posterior slopes (0° to 7°). To assess the effect of axial malrotation, we measured the coronal plane alignment of a tibial tray that was axially rotated (25° internal to 15° external), as viewed on a standard anteroposterior (AP) radiograph.


Axial rotation of the cutting guide induced a varus-valgus malalignment up to 1.8° (for 15° of axial rotation combined with 7° of posterior slope). Axial malrotation of tibial tray induced a substantially higher risk of coronal plane malalignment ranging from 1.9° valgus with 15° external rotation, to over 3° varus with 25° of internal rotation. Coronal alignment of the tibial cut changed by 0.07° per degree of axial rotation and 0.22° per degree of posterior slope (linear regression, R2 > 0.99).


While the effect of axial malalignment has been studied, the impact on coronal alignment is not known. Our results indicate that the direction of the cutting guide and malalignment in axial rotation alter coronal plane alignment and can increase the incidence of outliers.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(6 Supple A):43–48.

Correspondence should be sent to Darryl D. D’Lima. E-mail:

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