Protecting the PCL During Total Knee Arthroplasty Using a Bone Island Technique

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Background Prior studies have shown that the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) may be partially resected during cruciate retaining (CR) total knee arthroplasty (TKA) using highly experienced hands and standard surgical technique; therefore, proper surgical technique is aimed at preservation and balance of the PCL during CR TKA. The central objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a simple surgical technique to prevent PCL damage during performance of a CR TKA. Methods Sixty embalmed cadaver specimens were randomized into 2 groups, experimental and control. The control group consisted of standard tibial resection without the use of an osteotome. The experimental group utilized an osteotome in addition to standard technique to preserve a bone island anterior to the tibial attachment of the PCL. Results In the control group, PCL damage was noted in 73% (22/30) of specimens. In the experimental group, where an osteotome was used, PCL damage was found in 23% (7/30) of specimens. The use of an osteotome was found to have an absolute risk reduction of 50% when compared to the control group which did not use an osteotome to protect the PCL. Conclusion In the setting of minimal surgical experience, the use of an osteotome to preserve the PCL during CR TKA by forming a bone island was found to be an effective means of protecting the PCL over standard technique. In addition, standard technique with the use of a Y-shaped PCL retractor was found to provide questionable protection to the PCL.




Wood, A. R., Rabbani, T. A., Sheffer, B., Wagner, R. A., & Sanchez, H. B. (2018). Protecting the PCL During Total Knee Arthroplasty Using a Bone Island Technique. Journal of Arthroplasty, 33(1), 102–106.

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