A comparison of the vastus splitting and median parapatellar approaches in total knee arthroplasty

Michael A. Parentis, Mustasim N. Rumi, Gurvinder S. Deol, Milind Kothari, William M. Parrish, Vincent D. Pellegrini

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This prospective randomized study was undertaken to evaluate the vastus splitting approach as an alternative to the median parapatellar approach in primary total knee arthroplasty. Fifty-one knees in 42 patients were randomized preoperatively. Clinical parameters were evaluated preoperatively and at regular postoperative intervals. Electromyography was performed preoperatively and postoperatively to evaluate each approach relative to its effect on the innervation of the quadriceps mechanism. There were no significant preoperative differences. Postoperatively, there were no significant differences regarding strength, range of motion, knee scores, tourniquet time, proprioception, or patellar replacement. There were significantly more lateral releases performed and greater blood loss in the patients in the parapatellar group. The results of all preoperative electromyograms were normal, as were all of the results of postoperative electromyograms in the patients in the parapatellar group. However, the results of nine of 21 (43%) of the electromyograms performed postoperatively on patients who had the vastus splitting approach were abnormal. Significantly fewer lateral releases were performed and there was less blood loss in the patients in the vastus group. However, the postoperative electromyographic results revealed neurologic injuries in the vastus medialis muscle that only were present after the vastus splitting approach. The clinical significance of denervation of the vastus medialis muscle by the vastus approach remains to be determined by longer term clinical and electromyographic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number367
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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