Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research vol:4 pages:26
Asymptomatic local bone resorption of the tibia under the baseplate can occasionally be observed after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Its occurrence is not well documented, and so far no explanation is available. We report the incidence of this finding in our practice, and investigate whether it can be attributed to specific mechanical factors.
The postoperative radiographs of 500 consecutive TKA patients were analyzed to determine the occurrence of local medial bone resorption under the baseplate. Based on these cases, a 3D FE model was developed. Cemented and cementless technique, seven positions of the baseplate and eleven load sharing conditions were considered. The average VonMises stress was evaluated in the bone-baseplate interface, and the medial and lateral periprosthetic region.
Sixteen cases with local bone resorption were identified. In each, bone loss became apparent at 3 months post-op and did not increase after one year. None of these cases were symptomatic and infection screening was negative for all. The FE analysis demonstrated an influence of baseplate positioning, and also of load sharing, on stresses. The average stress in the medial periprosthetic region showed a non linear decrease when the prosthetic baseplate was shifted laterally. Shifting the component medially increased the stress on the medial periprosthetic region, but did not significantly unload the lateral side. The presence of a cement layer decreases the stresses.
Local bone resorption of the proximal tibia can occur after TKA and might be attributed to a stress shielding effect. This FE study shows that the medial periprosthetic region of the tibia is more sensitive than the lateral region to mediolateral positioning of the baseplate. Medial cortical support of the tibial baseplate is important for normal stress transfer to the underlying bone. The absence of medial cortical support of the tibial baseplate may lead to local bone resorption at the proximal tibia, as a result of the stress shielding effect. The presence of a complete layer of cement can reduce stress shielding, though. Despite the fact that the local bone resorption is asymptomatic and non-progressive, surgeons should be aware of this phenomenon in their interpretation of follow-up radiographs.