Patellar resurfacing in total knee arthroplasty: A prospective, randomized, double-blind study with five to seven years of follow-up

R. L. Barrack, A. J. Bertot, M. W. Wolfe, D. A. Waldman, M. Milicic, L. Myers

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244 Scopus citations


Background: Whether to resurface the patella during a primary total knee arthroplasty performed for the treatment of degenerative osteoarthritis remains a controversial issue. Parameters that have been suggested as being useful in guiding this decision include patient height and weight, the presence of anterior knee pain preoperatively, and the grade of chondromalacia encountered intraoperatively. The purpose of this study was to determine whether these parameters were predictive of the clinical result following total knee arthroplasty with or without patellar resurfacing. Methods: Eighty-six patients (118 knees) undergoing primary total knee arthroplasty for the treatment of osteoarthritis were enrolled in a prospective, randomized, double-blind study. All patients received the same posteriorcruciate-sparing total knee prosthetic components. Patients were randomized to treatment with or without resurfacing of the patella. Evaluations consisted of the determination of a Knee Society clinical score, the completion of a patient satisfaction questionnaire, specific questions relating to patellofemoral symptoms, and radiographs. Sixty-seven patients (ninety-three knees) were followed for a minimum of five years (range, sixty to eighty-four months; average, 70.5 months). Results: With the numbers available, there was no significant difference between the groups treated with and without resurfacing with regard to the overall Knee Society score or the pain and function subscores. Obesity, the degree of patellar chondromalacia, and the presence of preoperative anterior knee pain did not predict postoperative clinical scores or the presence of postoperative anterior knee pain. Conclusions: The occurrence of anterior knee pain could not be predicted with any clinical or radiographic parameter studied. On the basis of these results, it seems likely that postoperative anterior knee pain is related either to the component design or to the details of the surgical technique, such as component rotation, rather than to whether or not the patella is resurfaced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1376-1381
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001


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