Can technology improve alignment during knee arthroplasty.
Thienpont E., Fennema P., Price A.
Component malalignment remains a concern in total knee arthroplasty (TKA); therefore, a series of technologies have been developed to improve alignment. The authors conducted a systematic review to compare computer-assisted navigation with conventional instrumentation, and assess the current evidence for patient-matched instrumentation and robot-assisted implantation. An extensive search of the PubMed database for relevant meta-analyses, systematic reviews and original articles was performed, with each study scrutinised by two reviewers. Data on study characteristics and outcomes were extracted from each study and compared. In total 30 studies were included: 10 meta-analyses comparing computer-assisted navigation and conventional instrumentation, 13 studies examining patient-matched instrumentation, and seven investigating robot-assisted implantation. Computer-assisted navigation showed significant and reproducible improvements in mechanical alignment over conventional instrumentation. Patient-matched instrumentation appeared to achieve a high degree of mechanical alignment, although the majority of studies were of poor quality. The data for robot-assisted surgery was less indicative. Computer-assisted navigation improves alignment during TKA over conventional instrumentation. For patient-matched instrumentation and robot-assisted implantation, alignment benefits have not been reliably demonstrated. For all three technologies, clinical benefits cannot currently be assumed, and further studies are required. Although current technologies to improve alignment during TKA appear to result in intra-operative benefits, their clinical impact remains unclear, and surgeons should take this into account when considering their adoption.