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Tibial component alignment and risk of loosening in unicompartmental knee arthroplasty: a radiographic and radiostereometric study



Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) has shown a higher rate of revision compared with total knee arthroplasty. The success of UKA depends on prosthesis component alignment, fixation and soft tissue integrity. The tibial cut is the crucial surgical step. The hypothesis of the present study is that tibial component malalignment is correlated with its risk of loosening in UKA.


This study was performed in twenty-three patients undergoing primary cemented unicompartmental knee arthroplasties. Translations and rotations of the tibial component and the maximum total point motion (MTPM) were measured using radiostereometric analysis at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months. Standard radiological evaluations were also performed immediately before and after surgery. Varus/valgus and posterior slope of the tibial component and tibial–femoral axes were correlated with radiostereometric micro-motion. A survival analysis was also performed at an average of 5.9 years by contacting patients by phone.


Varus alignment of the tibial component was significantly correlated with MTPM, anterior tibial sinking, varus rotation and anterior and medial translations from radiostereometry. The posterior slope of the tibial component was correlated with external rotation. The survival rate at an average of 5.9 years was 89 %. The two patients who underwent revision presented a tibial component varus angle of 10° for both.


There is correlation between varus orientation of the tibial component and MTPM from radiostereometry in unicompartmental knee arthroplasties. Particularly, a misalignment in varus larger than 5° could lead to risk of loosening the tibial component.

Level of evidence

Prognostic studies—retrospective study, Level II.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have not conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to P. Barbadoro.

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Barbadoro, P., Ensini, A., Leardini, A. et al. Tibial component alignment and risk of loosening in unicompartmental knee arthroplasty: a radiographic and radiostereometric study. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 22, 3157–3162 (2014).

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  • Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA)
  • Tibial component fixation
  • Tibial component alignment
  • Radiostereometry (RSA)
  • Maximum total point motion (MTPM)