Several studies have shown mechanical alignment influences the outcome of TKA. Robotic systems have been developed to improve the precision and accuracy of achieving component position and mechanical alignment.Questions/purposes
We determined whether robotic-assisted implantation for TKA (1) improved clinical outcome; (2) improved mechanical axis alignment and implant inclination in the coronal and sagittal planes; (3) improved the balance (flexion and extension gaps); and (4) reduced complications, postoperative drainage, and operative time when compared to conventionally implanted TKA over an intermediate-term (minimum 3-year) followup period.Methods
We prospectively randomized 100 patients who underwent unilateral TKA into one of two groups: 50 using a robotic-assisted procedure and 50 using conventional manual techniques. Outcome variables considered were postoperative ROM, WOMAC scores, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) knee scores, mechanical axis alignment, flexion/extension gap balance, complications, postoperative drainage, and operative time. Minimum followup was 41 months (mean, 65 months; range, 41-81 months).Results
There were no differences in postoperative ROM, WOMAC scores, and HSS knee scores. The robotic-assisted group resulted in no mechanical axis outliers (> ± 3° from neutral) compared to 24% in the conventional group. There were fewer robotic-assisted knees where the flexion gap exceeded the extension gap by 2 mm. The robotic-assisted procedures took an average of 25 minutes longer than the conventional procedures but had less postoperative blood drainage. There were no differences in complications between groups.Conclusions
Robotic-assisted TKA appears to reduce the number of mechanical axis alignment outliers and improve the ability to achieve flexion-extension gap balance, without any differences in clinical scores or complications when compared to conventional manual techniques.Level of Evidence
Level I, therapeutic study. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.