Robotic-Arm Assisted Total Knee Arthroplasty Demonstrated Soft Tissue Protection.


INTRODUCTION While total knee arthroplasty (TKA) procedures have demonstrated clinical success, occasionally intraoperative complications can occur. Collateral or posterior cruciate ligament injury, instability, extensor mechanism disruption, and tibiofemoral or patellofemoral dislocation are among a few of the intraoperatively driven adverse events prevalently ranked by The Knee Society. Robotic-arm assisted TKA (RATKA) provides a surgeon the ability to three-dimensionally plan a TKA and use intraoperative visual, auditory, and tactile feedback to ensure that only the desired bone cuts are made. The potential benefits of soft tissue protection in these surgeries need to be further evaluated. The purpose of this cadaver study was to assess the a) integrity of various knee soft tissue structures (medial collateral ligament [MCL], lateral collateral ligament [LCL], posterior cruciate ligament [PCL], and the patellar ligament), as well as b) the need for tibial subluxation and patellar eversion during RATKA procedures. MATERIALS AND METHODS Six cadaver knees were prepared using RATKA by a surgeon with no prior clinical robotic experience. These were compared to seven manually performed cases as a control. The mean Kellgren-Lawrence score was 2.8 (range, 0 to 4) in RATKA and 2.6 (range, 1 to 4) in the manual cohort. The presence of soft tissue damage was assessed by having an experienced surgeon perform a visual evaluation and palpation of the PCL, MCL, LCL, and the patellar ligament after the procedures. In addition, leg pose and retraction were documented during all bone resections. The amount of tibial subluxation and patellar eversion was recorded for each case. RESULTS For all RATKA-assisted cases, there was no visible evidence of disruption of any of the ligaments. All RATKA cases were left with a bone island on the tibial plateau, which protected the PCL. Tibial subluxation and patella eversion were not required for visualization in any RATKA cases. In two of the seven MTKA cases, there was slight disruption noted of the PCL, although this did not lead to any apparent change in the functional integrity of the ligament. All MTKA cases required tibial subluxation and patellar revision to achieve optimal visualization. DISCUSSION Several aspects of soft tissue protection were noted during the study. During bone resections, the tibia in RATKA procedures did not require subluxation, which may reduce ligament stretching or decrease complication rates. Potential patient benefits for short-term recovery and decreased morbidity to reduce operative complications should be studied in a clinical setting. Since RATKA uses a stereotactic boundary to constrain the sawblade, which is generated based on the implant size, shape, and plan, and does not have the ability to track the patient's soft tissue structures, standard retraction techniques during cutting are recommended. Therefore, the retractor placement and potential for soft tissue protection needs to be further investigated. RATKA has the potential to increase soft tissue protection when compared to manual TKA.

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@article{Khlopas2017RoboticArmAT, title={Robotic-Arm Assisted Total Knee Arthroplasty Demonstrated Soft Tissue Protection.}, author={Anton A Khlopas and Morad Chughtai and Emily L Hampp and Laura Y Scholl and Michael Prieto and Ta-Cheng Chang and Abdullah Abbasi and Manoshi Bhowmik-Stoker and Jason Otto and David J. Jacofsky and M. Mont}, journal={Surgical technology international}, year={2017}, volume={30}, pages={441-446} }