© 2012 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 30:1167–1175, 2012

Identifying alignment parameters affecting implanted patellofemoral mechanics

Clare K. Fitzpatrick Mark A. Baldwin Chadd W. Clary Abraham Wright Peter J. Laz Paul J. Rullkoetter

Complications of the patellofemoral (PF) joint remain a common cause for revision of total knee replacements. PF complications, such as patellar maltracking, subluxation, and implant failure, have been linked to femoral and patellar component alignment. In this study, a dynamic finite element model of an implanted PF joint was applied in conjunction with a probabilistic simulation to establish relationships between alignment parameters and PF kinematics, contact mechanics, and internal stresses. Both traditional sensitivity analysis and a coupled probabilistic and principal component analysis approach were applied to characterize relationships between implant alignment and resulting joint mechanics. Critical alignment parameters, and combinations of parameters, affecting PF mechanics were identified for three patellar designs (dome, modified dome, and anatomic). Femoral internal–external (I‐E) alignment was identified as a critical alignment factor for all component designs, influencing medial–lateral contact force and anterior–posterior translation. The anatomic design was sensitive to patellar flexion–extension (F‐E) alignment, while the dome, as expected, was less influenced by rotational alignment, and more by translational position. The modified dome was sensitive to a combination of superior–inferior, F‐E, and I‐E alignments. Understanding the relationships and design‐specific dependencies between alignment parameters can aid preoperative planning, and help focus instrumentation design on those alignment parameters of primary concern.

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