Varus tibial joint line obliquity: A potential cause of femoral component malrotation

Mark W. Pagnano, Arlen D. Hanssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In 60 consecutive total knee arthroplasties done in 52 patients with primary osteoarthritis and varus or neutral tibiofemoral alignment, the posterior condylar angle was calculated intraoperatively and averaged 3.98° (range, 0°-9°). Eighteen knees had a posterior condylar angle value less than 3° whereas 27 knees had a posterior condylar angle value of 5° or greater. Final rotational alignment of the femoral component was set parallel to the transepicondylar axis. Only one of these 60 knees required a lateral retinacular release for proper patellar tracking during the knee arthroplasty. When compared with three previously defined angles measured on the radiographs taken preoperatively, only the tibial plateau-tibial shaft angle values were correlated significantly with the value of the posterior condylar angle. As the tibial varus joint line obliquity increased, there was a distinct tendency for the transepicondylar axis to be rotated more externally relative to the posterior condylar axis. This variance suggests that the use of the posterior condylar axis as a rotational reference is inappropriate in many knees with arthritis with varus or neutral tibiofemoral alignment. In particular, varus tibial joint line obliquity of more than 4° increases the likelihood of femoral component malrotation when the posterior femoral condyles are used to reference femoral component rotation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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