Recent studies have noted that patients with pre-existing lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) have lower functional outcomes after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Given that LSS manifests heterogeneously in location and severity, its influence on knee replacement merits a radiographically targeted analysis. We hypothesize that patients with more severe LSS will have diminished knee mobility following TKA.
This retrospective study assessed all TKAs performed at our institution for primary osteoarthritis from 2017-2020. Preoperative lumbar magnetic resonance image (MRI) with no prior lumbar spine surgery were necessary for inclusion. Stenosis severity was demonstrated by (1) anterior-posterior (AP) diameter of the dural sac and (2) morphological grade. TKA outcomes in 103 cases (94 patients) were assessed by measuring preoperative and postoperative arc of motion (AOM), postoperative flexion contracture, and need for manipulation under anesthesia.
Patients with mild stenosis did significantly better in terms of postoperative knee AOM. As AP diameter decreased at levels L1-2, L2-3, L3-4, and L4-5, there was a significant reduction in preoperative-AOM (p<0.001 for each), with a 16 degree decrease when using patients’ most stenotic level (p<0.001). The same was noted with respect to increased morphological grade (p<0.001), with a 5 degree decrease for patients’ most stenotic level (p<0.001).
Severe LSS, which is readily demonstrated by a reduction in the AP diameter of the dural sac or increased morphological grade on MRI, correlated with a significant reduction in preoperative-AOM that was not improved after TKA. Persistent postoperative reductions in AOM may contribute to reduced patient satisfaction and recovery.
Level of Evidence: Level 4