Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 471, Issue 5, pp 1661–1669

Proximal Tibial Bone Density Is Preserved After Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty

  • Bradley I. Richmond
  • Simon V. Hadlow
  • Tim G. Lynskey
  • Cameron G. Walker
  • Jacob T. Munro
Clinical Research



Bone mineral density (BMD) in the proximal tibia decreases after TKA and is believed to be a factor in implant migration and loosening. Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) is a less invasive procedure preserving knee compartments unaffected by degeneration. Finite element studies have suggested UKA may preserve BMD and that implants of differing stiffnesses might differentially affect BMD but these notions have not been clinically confirmed.


We therefore asked whether (1) proximal tibial BMD decreases after UKA, and (2) a cemented metal tibial component with a mobile polyethylene (PE) bearing would have greater BMD loss than a cemented PE tibial component.


We prospectively followed 48 patients who underwent 50 UKAs using one of two implants: one with a cemented metal tibial baseplate and a mobile PE insert (n = 26) and one with a cemented all-PE tibial component (n = 24). In followup we assessed pain and function (Oxford Knee Score, SF-12, The Knee Society Score©) and radiographs. BMD changes were assessed using quantitative CT osteodensitometry performed postoperatively and at 1 and 2 years after the index procedure.


Mean cancellous BMD decreased 1.9% on the medial side and 1.1% on the lateral side. Mean cortical BMD was static, decreasing 0.4% on the medial side and increasing 0.5% on the lateral side. The greatest observed difference between implants for any region was 3.7%. There were no differences in pain or functional outcome scores.


BMD was preserved 2 years after UKA with no major differences seen between implant types.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bradley I. Richmond
    • 1
    • 2
  • Simon V. Hadlow
    • 2
  • Tim G. Lynskey
    • 2
  • Cameron G. Walker
    • 3
  • Jacob T. Munro
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsMiddlemore HospitalAuckland, ManukauNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of OrthopaedicsTaranaki Base HospitalNew PlymouthNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Engineering ScienceUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  4. 4.Auckland Bioengineering InstituteUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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