Restricted Kinematic Alignment, the Fundamentals, and Clinical Applications

Pascal André Vendittoli, Sagi Martinov, William G. Blakeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: After a better understanding of normal knee anatomy and physiology, the Kinematic Alignment (KA) technique was introduced to improve clinical outcomes of total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The goal of the KA technique is to restore the pre-arthritic constitutional lower limb alignment of the patient. There is, however, a large range of normal knee anatomy. Unusual anatomies may be biomechanically inferior and affect TKA biomechanics and wear patterns. In 2011, the leading author proposed the restricted kinematic alignment (rKA) protocol, setting boundaries to KA for patients with an outlier or atypical knee anatomy. Material and Equipment: rKA aims to reproduce the constitutional knee anatomy of the patient within a safe range. Its fundamentals are based on sound comprehension of lower limb anatomy variation. There are five principles describing rKA: (1) Combined lower limb coronal orientation should be ± 3° of neutral; (2) Joint line orientation coronal alignment should be within ± 5° of neutral; (3) Natural knee's soft tissues tension/ laxities should be preserved/restored; (4) Femoral anatomy preservation is prioritized; (5) The unloaded/most intact knee compartment should be resurfaced and used as the pivot point when anatomical adjustment is required. An algorithm was developed to facilitate the decision-making. Methods: Since ~50% of patients will require anatomic modification to fit within rKA boundaries, rKA is ideally performed with patient-specific instrumentation (PSI), intra-operative computer navigation or robotic assistance. rKA surgical technique is presented in a stepwise manner, following the five principles in the algorithm. Results: rKA produced excellent mid-term clinical results in cemented or cementless TKA. Gait analysis showed that rKA TKA patients had gait patterns that were very close to a non-operated control group, and these kinematics differences translated into significantly better postoperative patient-reported scores than mechanical alignment (MA) TKA cases. Discussion: Aiming to improve the results of MA TKA, rKA protocol offers a satisfactory compromise that recreates patients' anatomy in most cases, omitting the need for extensive corrections and soft tissue releases that are often required with MA. Moreover, it precludes the reproduction of extreme anatomies seen with KA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number697020
JournalFrontiers in Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


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