Is there a benefit to a cruciate ligament sparing total knee replacement surgery?

Jill Murphy, DPT, LAT, CSCS

Total Knee

Question: I’ve been told that I need a new knee, and I’ve heard alot of ads about this. Is there really a benefit to a cruciate ligament sparing total knee replacement surgery?

Answer: While we are not orthopedic surgeons at MotionWorks, we do have access to all of the research that has been published on the topic. While research has shown an ACL and PCL-sparing knee replacement restores some of the normal motions of the normal human knee joint, there appears to be limited documented functional advantage in terms of patients’ functional levels attained after surgery when choosing this type of joint. According to the latest published research, there is no advantage to the cruciate sparing total knee replacement versus a traditional, posterior stabilizing replacement in terms of patient report of knee function and radiological studies two years following surgery. There may be a benefit as far as reduced time in surgery. Another study following this type of knee replacement for eight years found additional pain, reduced range of motion, especially with less experienced surgeons performing this newer type of replacement, but did report improved knee function compared with the traditional total knee replacement. So, perhaps the jury is out on the pros and cons of the different types of knee replacement devices available. We highly recommend that you have an extensive conversation with your orthopedic surgeon to determine which knee replacement procedure and implanted device will best match your needs as a patient based on all of the important factors to consider including your age, bone quality, condition of your ACL and PCL, functional range of motion needs, and any other issues important to you, as well as the surgical experience of the physician for the type of implant selected.

Photo courtesy of AAOS.