Valgus-producing medial opening-wedge proximal tibial osteotomies (V-MOW-PTO) are used to treat isolated medial-compartment knee osteoarthritis in patients with varus malalignment. A fracture of the lateral cortical hinge is a risk factor for poor outcomes. Implantation of a protective K-wire has been suggested to prevent this complication. The primary objective of this bench study was to assess the ability of a protective K-wire to prevent lateral cortical fractures. The secondary objective was to evaluate the influence of the opening speed on fracture risk during the osteotomy.
The primary hypothesis was that a protective K-wire decreased the risk of hinge fracture. The secondary hypothesis was that this risk was greater when the opening speed was high.
Materials and methods
We performed an experimental study of 20 simulated thermoplastic-polymer (ABS) tibias obtained by 3D printing to assess the effects of wedge-opening speed (high vs. low) and presence of a protective K-wire (yes vs. no). The opening rates were determined in a preliminary study of Sawbone® specimens opened using a distractor. The opening rate was measured using an accelerometer via a motion-capture glove. After assessing several high and low opening speeds, we selected 38mm/min and 152mm/min for the study. We divided the 20 ABS specimens into four groups of five each: high speed and K-wire, low speed and K-wire, high speed and no K-wire, and low speed and no K-wire. The force was applied using an Instron™ testing machine until construct failure. The primary outcome measure was the load at failure (N) and the secondary outcome measures were the displacement (mm) and maximum time to failure (s).
At both speeds, values were significantly higher with vs. without a K-wire for load to failure (low: 253.3N vs. 175.5N, p<0.01; high: 262.2N vs. 154.1N, p<0.01), displacement (low: 11.1mm vs. 8.7mm, p<0.01; high: 11mm vs. 8.9mm; p=0.012), and maximal time to failure (low: 11.4 s vs. 8.9 s; p=0.012; high: 2.2 s vs. 1.8 s; p=0.011). Thus, the osteotomy opening speed seemed to have no influence on the risk of lateral cortex fracture.
Our main hypothesis was confirmed but our secondary hypothesis was refuted: a protective K-wire significantly decreased the risk of hinge fracture, whereas the osteotomy opening speed had no influence. To our knowledge, this is the first published study assessing the potential influence of opening speed on risk of lateral cortex fracture. Our findings were obtained in the laboratory and should be evaluated in clinical practice.
Level of evidence
IV, experimental study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Proximal tibial osteotomy, Lateral cortex fracture, Hinge fracture, Load to failure, Biomechanical study