Chitranjan S. Ranawat Award: Motion during total knee cementing significantly decreases tibial implant fixation strength

Publication: The Journal of Arthroplasty

Date: February 26, 2022

Authors: J. Ryan Martin, Peter T. Wronski, Rachel M. Schilkowsky, Alexander V. Orfanos, Thomas K. Fehring, J. Bohannon Mason


Aseptic tibial loosening following primary total knee persists despite technique and device related advancements. The mechanisms for this mode of failure are not well understood. We hypothesized that knee movement while the cement was curing dispersed lipids at the implant cement interface and would result in decreased tibial fixation strength.

A cadaveric study was performed utilizing 32 torso-to-toe specimens (64 knees). Four contemporary total knee arthroplasty designs were evaluated. Each implant design was randomly assigned to a cadaveric specimen pair with side-to-side randomization. Specimen densitometry was recorded. Each tibial implant was cemented using standard technique. On one side, the tibial component was held without motion following impaction until complete cement polymerization. The contralateral knee tibial implant was taken through gentle range of motion and stability assessment seven minutes after cement mixing. Axial tibial pull out strength and interface failure examination was performed on each specimen.

The average pull out strength for the no motion cohort (5462N) exceeded the motion cohort (4473N)(p=0.001). The mean pull-out strength between implant designs in the no motion cohort varied significantly [Implant A – 7230N; B – 5806N; C – 5325N; D – 3486N] (p=0.007). Similarly, the motion cohort inter-implant variance was significant (p=<0.001). Intra-implant pull-out strength was significantly higher in Implant A than D. The average pull-out strength was significantly lower in specimens that failed at the implant-cement interface vs. bone failures (4089±2158 N vs. 5960±2010 N, p<0.0025).

Knee motion during cement polymerization is associated with significant decreases in tibial implant fixational strength. Reduction in implant pull-out strength was identified with each implant design with motion and varied between designs. Across all tested designs, we recommend limiting motion while cementing the tibial implant to improve fixation strength.

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