Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) surgery with manual instruments provides a quantitatively balanced knee in approximately 50% of cases. This study examined the effect of combining robotics technology with real-time intra-operative sensor feedback on the number of quantitatively balanced cases in a consecutive series of 200 robotic-assisted primary TKAs. The robotics platform was used to plan the implant component position using correctable poses in extension and a manual, centrally pivoting the balancer in flexion, prior to committing to the femoral cuts. During the initial trialing, the quantitative state of balance was assessed using an instrumented tibial tray that measured the intra-articular loads in the medial and lateral compartments. These sensor readings informed a number of surgical corrections, including bone recuts, soft-tissue corrections, and cement adjustments. During initial trialing, a quantitatively balanced knee was achieved in only 65% of cases. After performing the relevant soft-tissue corrections, bone recuts, and cement adjustments, 87% of cases ended balanced through the range of motion. Meanwhile, this resulted in a wide range of coronal alignment conditions, ranging from 6° valgus to 9° varus. It is therefore concluded that gaps derived from robotics navigation are not indicative for a quantitatively balanced knee, which was only consistently achieved when combining the robotics platform with real-time feedback from intra-operative load sensors.
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