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British Orthopaedic Research Society (BORS)


End-stage osteoarthritis is characterised by pain and reduced physical function, for which total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is recognised to be a highly effective treatment. Most implants are multi radius in design, though modern kinematic theory suggests a single flexion/extension axis is located in the femur. A recently launched TKA implant (Triathlon, Stryker US), is based on this theory, adopting a single radius of curvature femoral component. It is hypothesised that this design allows better function, and specifically, that it results in enhanced efficiency of the quadriceps group through a longer patello-femoral moment arm.

Change in power output was compared between single and multi radius implants as part of a larger ongoing randomised controlled trial to benchmark the new implant. Power output was assessed using a Leg Extensor Power Rig, well validated for use with this population, pre-operatively and at 6, 26 and 52 weeks post-operatively in 101 Triathlon and 82 Kinemax implants. All patients were diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and drawn from a single centre. Output was reported as maximal wattage (W) generated in a single leg extension, and expressed as a proportion of the contralateral limb power output to act as an internal control.

The results are shown in the table below. Two-way repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated a significant effect of TKA on the quadriceps power output, F = 249.09, p = <0.001 and also a significant interaction of the implant group on the output F = 11.33, p = 0.001. Independent samples t-tests of between group differences at the four assessment periods highlighted greater improvement in the single radius TKA group at all post-operative assessments (p <0.03), see table.

The theoretical enhanced quadriceps efficiency conferred by single radius design was found in this study. Power output was significantly greater at all post-operative assessments in the single radius compared to the multi radius group. This difference was particularly relevant at early 6 week and 1 year assessment. Lower limb power output is known to link positively to functional ability. The results support the hypothesis that TKAs with a single radius design have enhanced recovery and better function.