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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1991 Sep;73(5):709-14.

Coronal alignment after total knee replacement.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.


Maquet's line passes from the centre of the femoral head to the centre of the body of the talus. The distance of this line from the centre of the knee on a long-leg radiograph provides the most accurate measure of coronal alignment. Malalignment causes abnormal forces which may lead to loosening after knee replacement. We report a series of 115 Denham knee replacements performed between 1976 and 1981 using the earliest design of components, inserted with intramedullary guide rods. Patients were assessed clinically and long-leg standing radiographs were taken before operation, soon after surgery and up to 12 years later. In two-thirds of the knees (68%) Maquet's line passed through the middle third of the prosthesis on postoperative films and the incidence of subsequent loosening was 3%. When Maquet's line was medial or lateral to this, an error of approximately +/- 3 degrees, the incidence of loosening at a median period of eight years was 24%. This difference is highly significant (p = 0.001). Accurate coronal alignment appears to be an important factor in prevention of loosening. Means of improving the accuracy of alignment and of measuring it on long-leg radiographs are discussed.

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