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Robotic-assisted total knee arthroplasty improves accuracy and precision compared to conventional techniques

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Robotic-assisted total knee arthroplasty (RA-TKA) is theoretically more accurate for component positioning than TKA performed with mechanical instruments (M-TKA). Furthermore, the ability to incorporate soft-tissue laxity data into the plan prior to bone resection should reduce variability between the planned polyethylene thickness and the final implanted polyethylene. The purpose of this study was to compare accuracy to plan for component positioning and precision, as demonstrated by deviation from plan for polyethylene insert thickness in measured-resection RA-TKA versus M-TKA.


A total of 220 consecutive primary TKAs between May 2016 and November 2018, performed by a single surgeon, were reviewed. Planned coronal plane component alignment and overall limb alignment were all 0° to the mechanical axis; tibial posterior slope was 2°; and polyethylene thickness was 9 mm. For RA-TKA, individual component position was adjusted to assist gap-balancing but planned coronal plane alignment for the femoral and tibial components and overall limb alignment remained 0 ± 3°; planned tibial posterior slope was 1.5°. Mean deviations from plan for each parameter were compared between groups for positioning and size and outliers were assessed.


In all, 103 M-TKAs and 96 RA-TKAs were included. In RA-TKA versus M-TKA, respectively: mean femoral positioning (0.9° (SD 1.2°) vs 1.7° (SD 1.1°)), mean tibial positioning (0.3° (SD 0.9°) vs 1.3° (SD 1.0°)), mean posterior tibial slope (-0.3° (SD 1.3°) vs 1.7° (SD 1.1°)), and mean mechanical axis limb alignment (1.0° (SD 1.7°) vs 2.7° (SD 1.9°)) all deviated significantly less from the plan (all p < 0.001); significantly fewer knees required a distal femoral recut (10 (10%) vs 22 (22%), p = 0.033); and deviation from planned polyethylene thickness was significantly less (1.4 mm (SD 1.6) vs 2.7 mm (SD 2.2), p < 0.001).


RA-TKA is significantly more accurate and precise in planning both component positioning and final polyethylene insert thickness. Future studies should investigate whether this increased accuracy and precision has an impact on clinical outcomes. The greater accuracy and reproducibility of RA-TKA may be important as precise new goals for component positioning are developed and can be further individualized to the patient.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(6 Supple A):74–80.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr. David G. Deckey. E-mail:

H. D. Clarke and J. S. Bingham are joint senior authors.

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