Finite element analysis of unicompartmental knee arthroplasty

A Hopkins, Andrew New, F Rodriguez-y-Baena, Mark Taylor

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    66 Citations (Scopus)


    Concerns over accelerated damage to the untreated compartment of the knee following unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA), as well as the relatively poor success rates observed for lateral as opposed to the medial arthroplasty, remain issues for attention. Finite element analysis (FEA) was used to assess changes to the kinematics and potential for cartilage damage across the knee joint in response to the implantation of the Oxford Mobile Bearing UKA. FE models of lateral and medial compartment arthroplasty were developed, in addition to a healthy natural knee model, to gauge changes incurred through the arthroplasty. Varus-valgus misalignments were introduced to the femoral components to simulate surgical inaccuracy or over-correction. Boundary conditions from the Stanmore knee simulator during the stance phase of level gait were used. AP translations of the tibia in the medial UKA models were comparable to the behaviour of the natural knee models (±0.6 mm deviation from pre-operative motion). Following lateral UKA, 4.1 mm additional posterior translation of the tibia was recorded than predicted for the natural knee. IE rotations of the medial UKA models were less consistent with the pre-operative knee model than the lateral UKA models (7.7° vs. 3.6° deviation). Varus misalignment of the femoral prosthesis was more influential than valgus for medial UKA kinematics, whereas in lateral UKA, a valgus misalignment of the femoral prosthesis was most influential on the kinematics. Resection of the cartilage in the medial compartment reduced the overall risk of progressive OA in the knee, whereas removing the cartilage from the lateral compartment, and in particular introducing a valgus femoral misalignment, increased the overall risk of progressive OA in the knee. Based on these results, under the conditions tested herein, both medial and lateral UKA can be said to induce kinematics of the knee which could be considered broadly comparable to those of the natural knee, and that even a 10° varus-valgus misalignment of the femoral component may not induce highly irregular kinematics. However, elevated posterior translation of the tibia in lateral UKA and large excursions of the insert may explain the higher incidence of bearing dislocation observed in some clinical studies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)14-21
    Number of pages8
    JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


    • Finite Elements
    • Kinematics
    • Knee


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