The posterior cruciate ligament can be retained with advantage during routine total knee arthroplasty. This ligament is virtually always intact and functioning, even in rheumatoid patients. It is an important biologic stabilizer of the knee, capable of absorbing anterior-posterior shearing forces that otherwise must be borne by a constrained prosthesis and hence by the bone-cement interface. Its presence allows maintenance of the normal kinematics of the knee. Roll-back of the femur on the tibia can occur, enhancing flexion and improving the quadriceps movement. Substitution of the posterior cruciate ligament with the addition of prosthetic constraint will increase bone-cement reaction forces. These prostheses also require significant intercondylar femoral bone stock resection. The average range of motion of the early cruciate sacrificing design used in Insall's series was 94°, 10° or more less than now routinely seen with cruciate preservation. The bone-cement interface of the early total condylar knee with limited range of motion absorbed less force than it potentially might encounter with greater range of motion and increased function. Predictably, at long-term follow-up examination the new cruciate-substituting prostheses that allow more physiologic range of motion might show higher radiolucent line rates and higher loosening rates than their cruciate-preserving counterparts. Only this information can settle the argument over whether the posterior cruciate ligament should be preserved, and if the objective is a knee with maximum flexion and maximum functional capability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine