Clin Orthop Surg.  2021 Sep;13(3):352-357. 10.4055/cios20168.

The Influence of Femoral Internal Rotation on Patellar Tracking in Total Knee Arthroplasty Using Gap Technique

  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Seoul Sacred Heart General Hospital, Seoul, Korea


Femoral internal rotation in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is well known as one of the main causes of patellar maltracking. Although femoral internal rotation in TKA is considered unacceptable due to the risk of patellar maltracking, it is sometimes required for ligament balancing. We evaluated the influence of femoral internal rotation on patellar tracking in TKA performed using the gap technique.
From April 2008 to May 2018, 1,612 cases of TKA were done. Among them, 245 cases of TKA for osteoarthritis were followed up for at least 1 year and included in this study. We compared patellar tracking in two groups; group I consisted of 99 cases whose femoral rotation was less than 0° and group II consisted of 146 cases whose femoral rotation was 3°–5° external rotation. Preoperative femoral rotation was measured with the condylar twist angle (CTA) by using computed tomography. The patella was replaced in all cases. Patellar tracking was evaluated with patellar tilt angle (lateral tilt [+] and medial tilt [–]) in the merchant radiograph. Statistical analysis was done using Mann-Whitney U-test. Clinical assessment was performed using the Knee Society clinical rating system.
The preoperative CTA was 5.3° ± 1.6° in group I and 5.4° ± 1.6° in group II, showing no statistically significant difference between groups (p = 0.455). Intraoperative femoral rotation was –0.5° ± 0.8° in group I and 3.9° ± 0.8° in group II when the gap technique was used (p < 0.001). The postoperative patellar tilt angle was –0.4° ± 3.6° in group I and 0.1° ± 4.1° in group II with no statistically significant difference (p = 0.251).
Compared with femoral external rotation, femoral internal rotation with ligament balance in TKA was not more associated with patellar maltracking. Therefore, patellar tracking might be related with ligament balance in flexion regardless of the anatomic femoral rotational alignment.


Patellar tracking; Femoral internal rotation; Gap technique; Total knee arthroplasty
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