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Does the sequential addition of accelerometer-based navigation and sensor-guided ligament balancing improve outcomes in TKA?

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A significant percentage of patients remain dissatisfied after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The aim of this study was to determine whether the sequential addition of accelerometer-based navigation for femoral component preparation and sensor-guided ligament balancing improved complication rates, radiological alignment, or patient-reported outcomes (PROMs) compared with a historical control group using conventional instrumentation.


This retrospective cohort study included 371 TKAs performed by a single surgeon sequentially. A historical control group, with the use of intramedullary guides for distal femoral resection and surgeon-guided ligament balancing, was compared with a group using accelerometer-based navigation for distal femoral resection and surgeon-guided balancing (group 1), and one using navigated femoral resection and sensor-guided balancing (group 2). Primary outcome measures were Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) and Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome (KOOS) scores measured preoperatively and at six weeks and 12 months postoperatively. The position of the components and the mechanical axis of the limb were measured postoperatively. The postoperative range of motion (ROM), haematocrit change, and complications were also recorded.


There were 194 patients in the control group, 103 in group 1, and 74 in group 2. There were no significant differences in baseline demographics between the groups. Patients in group 2 had significantly higher baseline mental health subscores than control and group 1 patients (53.2 vs 50.2 vs 50.2, p = 0.041). There were no significant differences in any PROMs at six weeks or 12 months postoperatively (p > 0.05). There was no difference in the rate of manipulation under anaesthesia (MUA), complication rates, postoperative ROM, or blood loss. There were fewer mechanical axis outliers in groups 1 and 2 (25.2%, 14.9% respectively) versus control (28.4%), but this was not statistically significant (p = 0.10).


The sequential addition of navigation of the distal femoral cut and sensor-guided ligament balancing did not improve short-term PROMs, radiological outcomes, or complication rates compared with conventional techniques. The costs of these added technologies may not be justified.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(6 Supple A):24–30.

Correspondence should be sent to Christopher L. Peters. E-mail:

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