Intramedullary (IM) femoral alignment instrument is imprecise for the coronal alignment in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in patients with severe lateral bowing of the femur, while the extramedullary (EM) alignment system does not depend on the structure of the femoral medullary cavity. The aim of this retrospective study was to compare the accuracy of postoperative limb alignment with the two femoral alignment techniques for patients with severe coronal femoral bowing.
From January 2017 to December 2019, patients with end-stage knee osteoarthritis and coronal femoral bowing angle (cFBA) ≥ 5° who underwent total knee arthroplasty TKA at our institution were enrolled in the study. The postoperative hip-knee-ankle (HKA) alignment, femoral and tibial component alignment between the IM group and the EM group were compared on 5° ≤ cFBA < 10° and cFBA ≥ 10°.
In patients with 5° ≤ cFBA < 10°, no significant differences were observed in the EM group and IM group, including preoperative and postoperative parameters. However, when analyzing the patients with cFBA ≥ 10°, we found a significant difference in postoperative HKA (4.51° in the IM group vs. 2.23°in the EM group, p < 0.001), femoral component alignment angle (86.84° in the IM group vs. 88.46° in the EM group, p = 0.001) and tibial component alignment angle (88.69° in the IM group vs. 89.81° in the EM group, p = 0.003) between the two groups. Compared to the EM group, the IM group presents a higher rate of outliers for the postoperative HKA and femoral components.
The study showed that severe lateral bowing of the femur has an important influence on the postoperative alignment with the IM femoral cutting system. In this case, the application of EM cutting system in TKA will perform accurate distal femoral resection and optimize the alignment of lower limb and the femoral component.

© 2022. The Author(s).