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J Arthroplasty. 2005 Dec;20(8):1060-7.

The functional flexion-extension axis of the knee corresponds to the surgical epicondylar axis: in vivo analysis using a biplanar image-matching technique.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Kishiwada City Hospital, Osaka, Japan.


We investigated the concept that the knee has a fixed flexion-extension axis in the posterior femoral condyles and that this functional axis corresponds to the surgical epicondylar axis in vivo. We used a biplanar image-matching technique to perform the in vivo analysis of 9 normal knees to determine the location of the functional flexion-extension axis of the knee using an optimization technique. The functional flexion-extension axis passed through the sulcus of the medial epicondyle and the prominence of the lateral epicondyle. Flexion and extension of the knee could be represented as a rotation around a fixed axis, and this functional axis corresponded to the surgical epicondylar axis during a 0 degrees to 90 degrees flexion. This study assists more understanding of knee kinematics and provides useful information for the design and positioning of the prostheses used in total knee arthroplasty.

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