The primary aim of this study was to compare the postoperative systemic inflammatory response in conventional jig-based total knee arthroplasty (conventional TKA) versus robotic-arm assisted total knee arthroplasty (robotic TKA). Secondary aims were to compare the macroscopic soft tissue injury, femoral and tibial bone trauma, localized thermal response, and the accuracy of component positioning between the two treatment groups.
This prospective randomized controlled trial included 30 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee undergoing conventional TKA versus robotic TKA. Predefined serum markers of inflammation and localized knee temperature were collected preoperatively and postoperatively at six hours, day 1, day 2, day 7, and day 28 following TKA. Blinded observers used the Macroscopic Soft Tissue Injury (MASTI) classification system to grade intraoperative periarticular soft tissue injury and bone trauma. Plain radiographs were used to assess the accuracy of achieving the planned postioning of the components in both groups.
Patients undergoing conventional TKA and robotic TKA had comparable changes in the postoperative systemic inflammatory and localized thermal response at six hours, day 1, day 2, and day 28 after surgery. Robotic TKA had significantly reduced levels of interleukin-6 (p < 0.001), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (p = 0.021), ESR (p = 0.001), CRP (p = 0.004), lactate dehydrogenase (p = 0.007), and creatine kinase (p = 0.004) at day 7 after surgery compared with conventional TKA. Robotic TKA was associated with significantly improved preservation of the periarticular soft tissue envelope (p < 0.001), and reduced femoral (p = 0.012) and tibial (p = 0.023) bone trauma compared with conventional TKA. Robotic TKA significantly improved the accuracy of achieving the planned limb alignment (p < 0.001), femoral component positioning (p < 0.001), and tibial component positioning (p < 0.001) compared with conventional TKA.
Robotic TKA was associated with a transient reduction in the early (day 7) postoperative inflammatory response but there was no difference in the immediate (< 48 hours) or late (day 28) postoperative systemic inflammatory response compared with conventional TKA. Robotic TKA was associated with decreased iatrogenic periarticular soft tissue injury, reduced femoral and tibial bone trauma, and improved accuracy of component positioning compared with conventional TKA.