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Longitudinal Shapes of the Tibia and Femur are Unrelated and Variable

  • Author(s): Howell, Stephen M.
  • Kuznik, Kyle
  • Hull, Maury L.
  • Siston, Robert A.
  • et al.
Abstract

In general practice, short films of the knee are used to assess component position and define the entry point for intramedullary femoral alignment in TKAs; however, whether it is justified to use the short film commonly used in research settings and everyday practice as a substitute for the whole leg view is controversial and needs clarification. In 138 long leg CT scanograms we measured the angle formed by the anatomic axis of the proximal fourth of the tibia and the mechanical axis of the tibia, the angle formed by the anatomic axis of the distal fourth of the femur and the mechanical axis of the femur, the “bow” of the tibia (as reflected by the offset of the anatomic axis from the center of the talus), and the “bow” of the femur (as reflected by the offset of the anatomic axis from the center of the femoral head). Because the angle formed by these axes and the bow of the tibia and femur have wide variability in females and males, a short film of the knee should not be used in place of the whole leg view when accurate assessment of component position and limb alignment is essential. A previous study of normal limbs found that only 2% of subjects have a neutral hip-knee-ankle axis, which can be explained by the wide variability of the bow in the tibia and femur and the lack of correlation between the bow of the tibia and femur in a given limb as shown in the current study.

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