Send to

Choose Destination
J Arthroplasty. 1997 Sep;12(6):677-82.

The accuracy of femoral intramedullary guides in total knee arthroplasty.

Author information

Orthpaedic and Arthritic Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Of the technical factors important in achieving a successful total knee arthroplasty, limb alignment has been demonstrated to be most influential in determining implant survival. Intramedullary femoral guide systems rely on placement of the intramedullary rod along the anatomic axis of the femur. In this article, the accuracy of the femoral intramedullary guide is investigated using radiographs and a mathematical model. The femoral anatomic axis was drawn on 40 consecutive, preoperative, 3-ft standing radiographs. Using a mathematical model, the potential angular error in the distal femoral cut from aberrant placement of the intramedullary rod was estimated. Calculated values correlated with measured values from plain radiographs and an intramedullary guide template. The anatomic axis was found to exit the distal femur at an average of 6.6 mm medial to the center of the femoral notch. Substantial malalignment error resulted from minor malposition of the intramedullary rod. Most books and diagrams demonstrating the use of intramedullary guides indicate that the entry point is at the center of the femoral notch. These results show that the true entry point is medial to the center of the notch, and rod placement error results in excessive valgus alignment. Preoperative drawing of the anatomic axis on a 3-ft or 18-inch anteroposterior radiograph is recommended. The results both demonstrate the importance of correct use of the guide and heighten cognizance among surgeons performing total knee arthroplasty as to the limitations of the intramedullary guides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center