Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy April 2018, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 1216–1222

A stand-alone lateral condyle-elevating trochlear osteotomy leads to high residual instability but no excessive increase in patellofemoral osteoarthritis at 12-year follow-up

Tigchelaar, S., van Sambeeck, J., Koeter, S. et al.

Purpose and hypothesis

Trochlear osteotomy is a rarely performed procedure, only indicated in selected cases. Due to its nature, it can potentially lead to cartilage damage and subsequent early osteoarthritis. Satisfactory short-term results from lateral condyle-elevating osteotomy have previously been reported. The long-term effects of this procedure on clinical outcomes, patellar stability and radiological osteoarthritis are reported here.



Sixteen patients (19 knees) with patellar instability due to trochlear dysplasia were included. An isolated lateral condyle-elevating trochlear osteotomy was performed between 1995 and 2002. All patients were re-examined at a minimum of 12-year follow-up. Three patients were lost to follow-up, and one patient underwent a patellofemoral arthroplasty 3 years post-operatively due to progressive osteoarthritis. Complete follow-up was therefore available in 12 patients (15 knees). Recurrent instability, VAS pain, WOMAC, Lysholm and Kujala scores were used as outcome measures. Radiological osteoarthritis was recorded using the Iwano and the Kellgren–Lawrence classifications. A repeated-measures ANOVA was used to test for repeated measures (pre-operative, 2-year and final follow-up), and Spearman’s correlation coefficient for relationships between osteoarthritis and functional scores.



At final follow-up, VAS pain showed a non-significant improvement from 52 to 25, and the median Kujala score was 78. Median Lysholm (54–71, p = 0.021) and WOMAC (78–96, p = 0.021) scores improved from the pre-operative assessment to final follow-up. There was no significant difference observed between clinical scores at the 2-year and final follow-up. Residual patellar instability was reported in four out of 15 knees. Three knees showed no patellofemoral osteoarthritis, eight knees had grade 1 and four knees grade 2. No correlation between VAS pain, Lysholm, WOMAC or Kujala scores and osteoarthritis could be identified (n.s.).



A stand-alone lateral condyle-elevating trochleoplasty results in the significant improvement of most clinical scores; however, when performed as a stand-alone procedure, it leads to a high percentage of residual instability. In contrast to general belief, the development of patellofemoral osteoarthritis at 12-year follow-up did not exceed the findings from other trochleoplasty case series.


Level of evidence

Case series with no comparison group, Level IV.

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