A modified technique to reduce tibial keel cutting errors during an Oxford unicompartmental knee arthroplasty

  • Hiroshi InuiEmail author
  • Shuji Taketomi
  • Keitarou Tahara
  • Ryota Yamagami
  • Takaki Sanada
  • Sakae Tanaka



Bone cutting errors can cause malalignment of unicompartmental knee arthroplasties (UKA). Although the extent of tibial malalignment due to horizontal cutting errors has been well reported, there is a lack of studies evaluating malalignment as a consequence of keel cutting errors, particularly in the Oxford UKA. The purpose of this study was to examine keel cutting errors during Oxford UKA placement using a navigation system and to clarify whether two different tibial keel cutting techniques would have different error rates.


The alignment of the tibial cut surface after a horizontal osteotomy and the surface of the tibial trial component was measured with a navigation system. Cutting error was defined as the angular difference between these measurements. The following two techniques were used: the standard “pushing” technique in 83 patients (group P) and a modified “dolphin” technique in 41 patients (group D).


In all 123 patients studied, the mean absolute keel cutting error was 1.7° and 1.4° in the coronal and sagittal planes, respectively. In group P, there were 22 outlier patients (27 %) in the coronal plane and 13 (16 %) in the sagittal plane. Group D had three outlier patients (8 %) in the coronal plane and none (0 %) in the sagittal plane. Significant differences were observed in the outlier ratio of these techniques in both the sagittal (P = 0.014) and coronal (P = 0.008) planes.


Our study demonstrated overall keel cutting errors of 1.7° in the coronal plane and 1.4° in the sagittal plane. The “dolphin” technique was found to significantly reduce keel cutting errors on the tibial side. This technique will be useful for accurate component positioning and therefore improve the longevity of Oxford UKAs.

Level of evidence

Retrospective comparative study, Level III.


Oxford unicompartmental knee arthroplasty Tibial alignment Keel cutting error Computer-assisted navigation system 



We would like to thank Edanz Editing Global ( for the English language review.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery, Arthroscopy (ESSKA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroshi Inui
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shuji Taketomi
    • 1
  • Keitarou Tahara
    • 1
  • Ryota Yamagami
    • 1
  • Takaki Sanada
    • 1
  • Sakae Tanaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Faculty of MedicineThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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