Increased valgus laxity in flexion with greater tibial resection depth following total knee arthroplasty

  • E. Sappey-Marinier
  • N. White
  • R. Gaillard
  • L. Cheze
  • E. Servien
  • P. Neyret
  • S. LustigEmail author



Soft tissue balancing is of central importance to outcome following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). However, there are lack of data analysing the effect of tibial bone cut thickness on valgus laxity. A cadaveric study was undertaken to assess the biomechanical consequences of tibial resection depth on through range knee joint valgus stability. We aimed to establish a maximum tibial resection depth, beyond which medial collateral ligament balancing becomes challenging, and a constrained implant should be considered.


Eleven cadaveric specimens were included for analysis. The biomechanical effects of increasing tibial resection were studied, with bone cuts made at 6, 10, 14, 18 and 24 mm from the lateral tibial articular surface. A computer navigation system was used to perform the tibial resection and to measure the valgus laxity resulting from a torque of 10 Nm. Measurements were taken in four knee positions: 0° or extension, 30°, 60° and 90° of flexion. Intra-observer reliability was assessed. A minimum sample size of eight cadavers was necessary. Statistical analysis was performed using a nonparametric Spearman’s ranking correlation matrix at the different stages: in extension, at 30°, 60° and 90° of knee flexion. Significance was set at p < 0.05.


There was no macroscopic injury to the dMCL or sMCL in any of the specimens during tibial resection. There was no significant correlation found between the degree of valgus laxity and the thickness of the tibial cut with the knee in extension. There was a statistically significant correlation between valgus laxity and the thickness of the tibial cut in all other knee flexion positions: 30° (p < 0.0001), 60° (p < 0.001) and 90° (p < 0.0001). We identified greater than 5° of valgus laxity, at 90° of knee flexion, after a tibial resection of 14 mm.


Increased tibial resection depth is associated with significantly greater valgus laxity when tested in positions from 30° to 90° of flexion, despite stability in extension. Greater than 5° of laxity was identified with a tibial resection of 14 mm. When a tibial bone cut of 14 mm or greater is necessary, as may occur with severe preoperative coronal plane deformity, it is recommended to consider the use of a constrained knee prosthesis.


Tibial bone cut Total knee arthroplasty Medial collateral ligament Knee stability Total knee replacement Resection depth 



No funding was received for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was obtained from the Rockefeller anatomy laboratory, Grange Blanche, Lyon, France.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery, Arthroscopy (ESSKA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Sappey-Marinier
    • 1
  • N. White
    • 1
  • R. Gaillard
    • 2
  • L. Cheze
    • 2
  • E. Servien
    • 1
  • P. Neyret
    • 1
  • S. Lustig
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre Albert Trillat, Orthopaedic SurgeryCroix-Rousse HospitalLyonFrance
  2. 2.Univ Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, IFSTTAR, LBMC UMR_T9406LyonFrance

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