Limb length discrepancy and its effects on patient function have been discussed in depth in the literature with respect to hip arthroplasty but there are few studies that have examined the effect on function of limb length discrepency following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The aim of this study was to determine whether limb length discrepancy after TKA in patients with bilateral osteoarthritis of knee with varus deformity affects functional outcome.
Materials and Methods:
Fifty-four patients with bilateral osteoarthritis of knee with varus deformity, who were operated for total knee arthroplasty from 1996 to 2008, were reviewed retrospectively. The patients were divided into two groups. Thirty patients (mean age 64 years) were operated for unilateral TKA and thirty patients (mean age 65.8 years) were operated for bilateral total knee arthroplasty. Six patients underwent staged surgery and were included in both groups as the time interval between the two surgeries was more than the minimum 6-month follow-up period specified for inclusion in the study. The limb length discrepancy was measured and statistically correlated with the functional component of the Knee Society Score.
In the unilateral group (n=30), the mean limb length discrepancy was 1.53 cm (range: 0-3 cm) and the mean functional score was 73 (range: 45-100). In the bilateral group (n=30), the mean limb length discrepancy was 0.5 cm (range: 0-2 cm) and the mean functional score was 80.67 (range: 0-100). A statistically significant negative correlation was found between limb length discrepancy and functional score in the unilateral group (Spearman correlation coefficient, r =−0.52, P=0.006), while no statistically significant correlation was found in the bilateral group (Spearman correlation coefficient, r = −0.141, P=0.458).
Limb length discrepancy affects functional outcome after total knee arthroplasty, especially so in patients of bilateral osteoarthritis with varus deformity undergoing surgery of only one knee.