Proper alignment of the mechanical axis of the lower limb is the principal goal of a high tibial osteotomy. A well-accepted and relevant technical specification is the coronal plane lower-limb alignment. Target values for coronal plane alignment after high tibial osteotomy include 2° of overcorrection, while tolerances for this specification have been established as 2° to 4°. However, the role of axial plane and sagittal plane realignment after high tibial osteotomy is poorly understood; consequently, targets and tolerance for this technical specification remain undefined. This article reviews the literature concerning the reliability and precision of navigation in monitoring the clinically relevant specification of lower-limb alignment in high tibial osteotomy. We conclude that image-free navigation registration may be clinically useful for intraoperative monitoring of the coronal plane only. Only fair and poor results for the axial and sagittal planes can be obtained by image-free navigation systems. In the future, combined image-based data, such as those from radiographs, magnetic resonance imaging, and gait analysis, may be used to help to improve the accuracy and reproducibility of quantitative intraoperative monitoring of lower-limb alignment.
1Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021. E-mail address for A.D. Pearle: firstname.lastname@example.org