The effect of extraarticular varus and valgus deformity on total knee arthroplasty

A. M. Wolff, D. S. Hungerford, C. L. Pepe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Because of trauma, metabolic bone disease, congenital deformity, or prior osteotomy, an extraarticular deformity may be present in patients requiring total knee arthroplasty. If the extraarticular deformity is not corrected extraarticularly, it must be corrected by compensatory distal femoral or proximal tibial wedge resection to produce overall limb alignment. Because such a wedge resection between the proximal and distal attachments of the collateral ligaments will produce asymmetrical ligament length, complex instabilities may result. This article, through overlay templates and trigonometric analysis, evaluates all the issues confronting the surgeon deciding whether to pursue intraarticular or extraarticular correction. The conclusions are as follows: (1) the closer a deformity is to the knee, the greater its importance, (2) femoral deformities are more difficult to correct intraarticularly than tibial deformities because femoral compensatory wedge resection produces instability only in extension, and (3) intraarticular correction of varus deformities produces lateral instability that is usually better tolerated than medial instability, and some extraarticular deformities are best treated by extraarticular correct, independent, or total knee arthroplasty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number271
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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