Are there functional biomechanical differences in robotic arm-assisted bi-unicompartmental knee arthroplasty compared with conventional total knee arthroplasty? A prospective, randomized controlled trial

Banger, Matthew S. and Doonan, James and Jones, Bryn G. and MacLean, Angus D. and Rowe, Philip J. and Blyth, Mark J. G. (2022) Are there functional biomechanical differences in robotic arm-assisted bi-unicompartmental knee arthroplasty compared with conventional total knee arthroplasty? A prospective, randomized controlled trial. The Bone and Joint Journal, 104 (4). pp. 433-443. ISSN 2049-4394 (https://doi.org/10.1302/0301-620X.104B4.BJJ-2021-0...)

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Abstract

Aims The aim of this study was to compare any differences in the primary outcome (biphasic flexion knee moment during gait) of robotic arm-assisted bi-unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (bi-UKA) with conventional mechanically aligned total knee arthroplasty (TKA) at one year post-surgery. Methods A total of 76 patients (34 bi-UKA and 42 TKA patients) were analyzed in a prospective, single-centre, randomized controlled trial. Flat ground shod gait analysis was performed preoperatively and one year postoperatively. Knee flexion moment was calculated from motion capture markers and force plates. The same setup determined proprioception outcomes during a joint position sense test and one-leg standing. Surgery allocation, surgeon, and secondary outcomes were analyzed for prediction of the primary outcome from a binary regression model. Results Both interventions were shown to be effective treatment options, with no significant differences shown between interventions for the primary outcome of this study (18/35 (51.4%) biphasic TKA patients vs 20/31 (64.5%) biphasic bi-UKA patients; p = 0.558). All outcomes were compared to an age-matched, healthy cohort that outperformed both groups, indicating residual deficits exists following surgery. Logistic regression analysis of primary outcome with secondary outcomes indicated that the most significant predictor of postoperative biphasic knee moments was preoperative knee moment profile and trochlear degradation (Outerbridge) (R2 = 0.381; p = 0.002, p = 0.046). A separate regression of alignment against primary outcome indicated significant bi-UKA femoral and tibial axial alignment (R2 = 0.352; p = 0.029), and TKA femoral sagittal alignment (R2 = 0.252; p = 0.016). The bi-UKA group showed a significant increased ability in the proprioceptive joint position test, but no difference was found in more dynamic testing of proprioception. Conclusion Robotic arm-assisted bi-UKA demonstrated equivalence to TKA in achieving a biphasic gait pattern after surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee. Both treatments are successful at improving gait, but both leave the patients with a functional limitation that is not present in healthy age-matched controls.

ORCID iDs

Banger, Matthew S. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6672-5379, Doonan, James ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6933-4840, Jones, Bryn G., MacLean, Angus D., Rowe, Philip J. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4877-8466 and Blyth, Mark J. G.;