Background To date, there is still no consensus on what soft tissues must be preserved and what structures can be safely released during total knee arthroplasty (TKA) with a medially stabilized implant. Objective The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of a progressive selective release of the medial and lateral soft tissues in a knee implanted with a medially stabilized prosthesis. Method Six cadaveric fresh-frozen full leg specimens were tested. In each case, kinematic pattern and mediolateral laxity were measured in three stages: firstly, prior to implantation; secondly, after the implantation of the trial components, but before any soft tissue release; and thirdly, progressively as soft tissue was released with the trial implant in place. The incremental impact of each selective release on knee balance was then analyzed. Results In all cases sagittal stability was not affected by the progressive release of the lateral soft tissue envelope. It was possible to perform progressive lateral release provided the anterior one-third of the iliotibial band (ITB) remained intact. Progressive medial release could be performed on the medial side provided the anterior fibers of the superficial medial collateral ligament (sMCL) remained intact. Conclusion The medially conforming implant remains stable provided the anterior fibers of sMCL and the anterior fibers of the ITB remain intact. The implant's sagittal stability is mainly dependent on its medial ball-in-socket design.