The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 12 , 3685 - 3693

Increased Patellar Fracture Rate in Total Knee Arthroplasty With Preoperative Varus Greater Than 15°: A Case-Control Study

Mouton, Jordane et al.


Management of severe varus deformity requires soft tissue balancing for implantation of low-constraint knee prosthesis. Patellar complications have been rarely studied in this specific group. Our hypothesis was that severe genu varum (>15°) would increase the rate of patellar complications.


Using a prospective cohort of 4216 prostheses performed at a single center beginning in 1987, we analyzed 280 prostheses having preoperative varus greater than 15°, compared to 673 total knee arthroplasties (TKAs) with a preoperative hip-knee-ankle angle of 180° ± 2°. Preoperative and postoperative clinical and radiological characteristics were compared between the 2 groups, with particular attention paid to patellar complications.


Average follow-up was 40.2 months (24-239). The mean preoperative Knee Society Score (KSS) was statistically higher in the normal (hip-knee-ankle angle 180° ± 2) axis group (62.65 vs 37.47, P = .001). At the last follow-up, no significant difference was found between the 2 groups in terms of postoperative KSS (87.5 in the varus group vs 87.3 in the normal axis group, P = .87). The rate of satisfied patients was identical between the 2 groups (85.3% vs 88.8%, P = .49). However, at mid-term, there were more patellar fractures in the varus group (2.9% vs 0.9%, P = .005). A significantly lower patellar height in both the varus group and the group of patella fractures (P < .001) was also found.


TKA in severe varus knees produces a KSS equivalent to TKA in knees with a mechanical axis of 0 ± 2. The risk of patellar fracture could initiate a decline in patella resurfacing in patients with major varus deformation, especially in case of a preoperative patella baja.

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