Does total knee arthroplasty modify flexion axis of the knee?

F. Iacono, D. Bruni, S. Bignozzi, F. Colle, M. Marcacci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To prospectively investigate whether preoperative functional flexion axis in patients with osteoarthritis- and varus-alignment changes after total knee arthroplasty and whether a correlation exists both between preoperative functional flexion axis and native limb deformity. Methods: A navigated total knee arthroplasty was performed in 108 patients using a specific software to acquire passive joint kinematics before and after implant positioning. The knee was cycled through three passive range of motions, from 0° to 120°. Functional flexion axis was computed using the mean helical axis algorithm. The angle between the functional flexion axis and the surgical transepicondylar axis was determined on frontal (α F) and axial (α A) plane. The pre- and postoperative hip-knee-ankle angle, related to femur mechanical axis, was determined. Results: Postoperative functional flexion axis was different from preoperative only on frontal plane, while no differences were found on axial plane. No correlation was found between preoperative α A and native limb deformity, while a poor correlation was found in frontal plane, between α F and preoperative hip-knee-ankle angle. Conclusions: Total knee arthroplasty affects functional flexion axis only on frontal plane while has no effect on axial plane. Preoperative functional flexion axis is in a more varus position respect to the transepicondylar axis both in pre- and postoperative conditions. Moreover, the position of the functional axis on frontal plane in preoperative conditions is dependent on native limb alignment, while on axial plane is not dependent on the amount of preoperative varus deformity. Level of evidence: IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1728-1735
Number of pages8
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Computer-assisted surgery
  • Functional flexion axis
  • Total knee arthroplasty
  • Varus alignment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


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