May 2013

Nonoperated knee remains vulnerable after unilateral total joint arthroplasty

In the moment: Knee OA

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Unilateral total knee arthroplasty (TKA) does not reduce loading in the nonoperated knee, and the resulting asymmetry may help explain why many patients end up undergoing TKA in the contralateral knee within 10 years of the initial procedure, according to an Israeli study presented at the 2013 World Congress on Osteoarthritis.

In 50 patients who underwent unilateral TKA, knee adduction moment and knee varus angle did not change significantly in the nonoperated knee from presurgery to two months after surgery. Both measures decreased significantly in the operated knee, however, resulting in significant between-limb differences.

Load-reducing interventions for the nonoperated limb after TKA may be warranted, said Eytan Debbi, a graduate student at Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Tel Aviv, who presented the findings at the congress.

“We think there may be cumulative loading in this joint,” Debbi said. “When standing, these patients are putting most of their weight on the nonoperative limb, and when walking they’re limping dramatically.”


Debbi EM, Bernfield B, Soudri M, et al. Frontal plane biomechanics of the nonoperated knee before and after unilateral total knee arthroplasty. Presented at the 2013 World Congress on Osteoarthritis, Philadelphia, April 2013.

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