Background: Restoration of the natural joint line is a cornerstone for kinematically aligned total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The purpose of this study was to investigate the relative orientation of the tibial growth plate (GP) with respect to the tibial plateau (TP) for possible application in predicting natural joint line for knees with highly advanced osteoarthritis patient at the time of kinematically aligned TKA. Methods: Images from computed tomography (CT) of 27 normal knees (9 males, 18 females; mean age, 31.6 years) were studied. Geometry of the GP was extracted from CT images, and its moment-of-inertia axes were calculated for the whole GP and the medial and lateral halves. Angular orientations of each GP axis with respect to the TP plane were measured in anatomical coordinates. Results: The TP and GP planes were oriented in 2.3 ± 1.8° of varus and 1.1 ± 1.9° of valgus relative to the tibial mechanical axis, respectively. With respect to the TP plane, the whole GP plane was inclined in 3.4 ± 1.5° of valgus. Orientation of the GP plane differed drastically between medial and lateral halves. The medial GP was in 4.9 ± 2.9° of varus and 1.8 ± 2.5° of anterior inclination, and the lateral half was in 10.4 ± 2.4° of valgus and 18.6 ± 4.0° of anterior inclination relative to the TP. Conclusions: Angular orientation of the original TP plane can be predicted in reference to the GP plane and may provide reasonable guidance for the target bone resection angle of the tibia in kinematically aligned TKA.
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