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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1992 May;(278):147-52.

The effects of implant design on range of motion after total knee arthroplasty. Total condylar versus posterior stabilized total condylar designs.

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  • 1Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, California.


Range of motion (ROM) after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is an important variable in determining clinical outcome. Recent design modifications have been aimed at improving final motion. The posterior stabilized total knee prosthesis was introduced as a modification of the total condylar design, changing the center of curvature of the femoral component to allow greater ROM. In this study, all primary TKAs performed at the authors' institution from July 1982 until December 1986 were reviewed to determine the effect of this design modification on outcome. A total condylar (TC) group comprised 51 arthroplasties and was compared to 53 arthroplasties in a posterior stabilized (PSTC) group. the postoperative protocol was identical in both groups. The mean postoperative flexion was 11 better in the PSTC group; however, the mean preoperative flexion had initially been 10 degrees better in the PSTC group. The maximum flexion achieved by any patient in both groups was similar, but the TC group actually gained slightly more arc of motion. The better motion in the PSTC group may be secondary to better motion preoperatively and not implant design in this series. The more limited the preoperative ROM, the greater the quadriceps stiffness is likely to be, which is an important determinant of postoperative flexion. Review of the literature supports present observations that a group with less mean preoperative motion paradoxically gains a slightly greater increment of flexion. Differences in flexion after TKA are difficult to attribute to design in either the current study or by a review of the literature. This is because determinants of flexion after TKA are multifactorial and outcome data limited, notwithstanding the similarities among modern prostheses.

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