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Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 22, Issue 12, pp 3100–3112 | Cite as

Lack of evidence to support present medial release methods in total knee arthroplasty

  • Nicola C. Hunt
  • Kanishka M. Ghosh
  • Kiron K. Athwal
  • Lee M. Longstaff
  • Andrew A. Amis
  • David J. Deehan
Knee

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this review was to identify a reliable sequential medial release protocol for restoration of soft tissue balance in total knee arthroplasty of the varus osteoarthritic knee and to allow for improved intraoperative decision-making.

Method

Current medial release sequences and applicability based upon pre-operative deformity have been reviewed. Furthermore, risks associated with over release, and the necessity of medial release, are discussed.

Results

The different medial release sequences are discussed in relation to pre-operative deformity, along with potential complications associated with medial release. It was found that release sequences may include the deep and superficial components of the medial collateral ligament, the posteromedial capsule, the posterior oblique ligament, the pes anserinus (pes A), and tendons of the semimembranosus and medial gastrocnemius muscle. The sequences described were found to vary substantially between studies, and very few studies had systematically quantified the effect of each release on balance.

Conclusion

While medial release is the standard intraoperative mode of balancing, there is a lack of evidence to support current methods. The correct method for defining intraoperatively the sequence, extent and magnitude of releases required remains ill-defined. It could be argued that the classic extensive medial release may be unnecessary and may be associated with iatrogenic injury to the pes A and saphenous nerve, instability and abnormal knee kinematics. Minimal medial release may allow for improved soft tissue balancing leading ultimately to improved functional outcome.

Level of evidence

V (expert opinion).

Keywords

Total knee arthroplasty Varus deformity Medial collateral ligament Ligament balancing 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge Stryker Corp. for funding and Newcastle Surgical Training Centre for technical assistance.

Conflict of interest

None.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicola C. Hunt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kanishka M. Ghosh
    • 1
  • Kiron K. Athwal
    • 3
  • Lee M. Longstaff
    • 4
  • Andrew A. Amis
    • 3
    • 5
  • David J. Deehan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryNewcastle Freeman University HospitalNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Institute of Cellular Medicine, Medical SchoolFramlington Place Newcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical EngineeringImperial College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity Hospital of North DurhamDurhamUK
  5. 5.Orthopaedic Surgery Group, Imperial College London School of MedicineCharing Cross HospitalLondonUK

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