BACKGROUND: Mobile-bearing medial-unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (mUKA) has a documented learning curve. New instrumentation has been designed with the aim of reducing the technical challenges of this procedure. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the technical performance of mUKA using new (Microplasty) versus older (Phase III) instrumentation, performed by expert surgeons and trainees. Secondary aims were to evaluate functional outcome and mid-term survivorship. METHODS: A time-based comparative cohort study was performed between 2009 and 2015 at a high-volume centre. 273 patients (273 knees, 49.5% female) of mean age 67.8 (standard deviation 10.1) years underwent mUKA. 153 (56.0%) procedures used Microplasty instruments and 120 procedures (44.0%) used Phase III instruments. RESULTS: Non-optimal bearing usage was less frequent with Microplasty than Phase III instruments (24 knees [15.7%] versus 33 knees [27.5%], p = 0.024), with differences due to improved trainee performance. Femoral component sagittal alignment outliers were less frequent with Microplasty, but this was not statistically significant (9 knees [5.9%] versus 13 knees [10.8%], p = 0.18). Post-operative Oxford Knee Scores (OKS) were better with Microplasty (median 42 points [interquartile range 38-44]) compared to Phase III (median 39.5 points [IQR 33-44]), which was statistically significant (p = 0.023), but not clinically meaningful. The overall 5-year Kaplan-Meier (KM) survival estimate was 99.3% (95% CI 97.0-99.8%), with no differences between Microplasty and Phase III instrumentation. CONCLUSIONS: New instrumentation improved the reliability of the proximal tibial resection in trainees. Further research is warranted to investigate whether Microplasty instrumentation shortens the learning curve for medial UKA.
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Clinical outcomes, Surgical characteristics, Surgical training, UKA