Robotic technology has been applied to unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) in order to improve surgical precision in prosthetic component placement, restore knee anatomic surfaces, and provide a more physiologic ligament tensioning throughout the knee range of motion. Recent literature has demonstrated the reliability of robotic assisted UKA over manual UKA in component placement and executing a soft-tissue tensioning plan. The purpose of this multicenter study was to determine the correlation between 3D component positioning and soft-tissue tensioning with short-term clinical results following robotic assisted medial UKA.
Between 2013 and 2016, 349 patients (381 knees) underwent robotic assisted fixed bearing metal backed medial UKAs at two centres. Follow-up was performed at 12 months minimum. Pre- and post-operatively, patients were administered Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Score (KOOS), Forgotten Joint Score 12 (FJS), and Short-Form summary scale (SF-12) surveys. Clinical results for every score were stratified as ‘excellent’, ‘mild’ and ‘insufficient’. Post-operative complications were recorded. Failure mechanisms, reoperations and post-operative knee pain were also assessed. Intra-operative robotic data relative to femoral and tibial component placement in the coronal, sagittal and horizontal plane, as well as femoro-tibial gaps at different knee flexion angles were also collected.
A total of 338 robotic assisted medial UKAs (309 patients) were assessed at an average follow-up of 33.5 months post-operatively (89% follow-up rate). Three implants were revised, resulting in a survivorship of 99.0% (C.I. 97.0%–99.7%), one for prosthetic joint infection and two for tibial aseptic loosening. All clinical post-operative scores were significantly improved from the pre-operative scores. The following statistically significant correlations were found between intra-operative robotic data and outcomes considered individually: femoral component coronal alignment influenced KOOS Symptoms, Pain and Quality of Life (p<0.05), sagittal alignment influenced KOOS Symptoms and Pain (p<0.05), and femoro-tibial gaps at 20°–30° knee flexion influenced KOOS Pain and Function in Activities of Daily Living (p<0.05). Both, tibial sagittal alignment and femoro-tibial gaps at 80°–90° knee flexion were found to correlate with SF-12 Physical Status and presence of post-operative pain (p<0.01).
‘Excellent’ clinical outcomes were reported by those patients who, on average, had the femur placed in neutral alignment in the coronal and horizontal planes (0.2°±1.5 and 0.6°±1.4 respectively) as well as avoided excessive flexion in the sagittal plane (3.7°±3.2). When considering the tibia, better results were reported by patients with the tibial component placed in slight external rotation (2.2°±1.7), varus coronal alignment (1.5°±1.7) and no more than 5° of posterior slope (5.0°±1.0). Regarding femoro-tibial gaps, ‘excellent’ clinical outcomes were reported by patients who were slightly loose between 20°–30° and 80°–90° of knee flexion.
In the present study, survivorship and clinical outcomes of a large cohort of 309 patients with medial robotic assisted UKA were contacted with at a mean 3-years. The overall survivorship was found to be 99%, with tibial component failure as the most common reason for UKA revision. The significant difference between pre- and post-operative clinical scores highlights the efficacy of robotic assisted UKA in restoring knee function and relieving pain. Differences in components’ positioning and soft-tissue tensioning demonstrated significant correlation with post-operative clinical outcomes.