The use of a highly conforming, anterior-stabilized bearing has been associated with clinical success in a limited number of studies.

We compared Knee Society scores, radiographic results, complication rates, and revision rates with the use of anterior-stabilized bearings compared with cruciate-retaining (CR) bearings.

A series of 382 patients with 468 primary total knee arthroplasties (TKAs) between 2003 and 2008 with minimum 2-year followup were reviewed. Anterior-stabilized bearings comprised 49% (n = 228) of the sample and CR bearings consisted of 51% (n = 240). The decision to use an anterior-stabilized bearing was based on integrity of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) intraoperatively or after sacrifice of the PCL to achieve soft tissue balance. The tibial and femoral component designs were the same regardless of bearing choice. Outcomes were measured with Knee Society scores, complications, revision TKA, and survival. Radiographs were analyzed for component alignment and evidence of loosening.

There was no difference in Knee Society knee scores, radiographic alignment, component loosening, manipulation rate, major complications, or time to revision for patients between the two groups. However, the CR group had significantly more revisions than the anterior-stabilized group (21 CR [1.5%] versus seven anterior-stabilized [4.6%], p = 0.03) at a minimum followup of 5 months (mean, 42 months; range, 5-181 months).

The use of a highly congruent anterior-stabilized bearing for PCL substitution has comparable clinical and radiographic results to traditional CR TKA. These results suggest that this approach is an effective method to achieve stability without the PCL in primary TKA.