The Knee, ISSN: 0968-0160, Vol: 27, Issue: 3, Page: 615-623

Medial closing-wedge distal femoral varus osteotomy: Symptoms and functional impact in cases of associated patellofemoral osteoarthritis. A two-year follow-up prospective pilot study

T. Barnavon; O. Labrada-Blanco; M. Bordes; G. Renard; J. L. Rouvillain; M. Severyns; G. A. Odri; T. Vendeuvre


To date, indications for distal femoral varus osteotomy (FVO) in cases of associated patellofemoral osteoarthritis (PFO) have yet to be clarified. The purpose of this prospective study is to assess the short-term symptoms, functional and radiological impact of a medial closing-wedge femoral varus osteotomy on the patellofemoral joint in patients with valgus deformities who are afflicted with lateral tibiofemoral osteoarthritis (LTFO) associated with PFO.


Fourteen patients (15 knees) received a medial closing-wedge femoral varus osteotomy. The functional impact of an FVO on the patellofemoral joint was assessed based on the KOOS-PF (Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score-Patellofemoral Subscale), the Kujala score and the patellofemoral symptoms. Realignment of the patella was measured by the Merchant’s patellofemoral congruence angle. The pre- and post-operative symptoms and functional scores were compiled prospectively and compared two years after the surgery.


The Kujala patellofemoral functional scores and the KOOS-PF showed considerable improvement with a differential of + 37.5 points ± 20.4 and + 42.7 points ± 19.3 (p < .01) respectively. The average Merchant’s congruence angle went from 8.8° laterally to 3.6° medially, resulting in medialization of the patella, with a significant difference (p < .01). Based on the specific clinical analysis of the patellar joint, preoperative J-sign was identified in 26.7% of patients (n = 4) and was not found during postoperative examination (p = .1). Preoperative apprehension test was identified in 33.3% of patients (n = 5) against 13.3% (n = 2) after surgery (p = .39). Preoperative pain extension test was identified in 40% of patients (n = 6) against 20% during postoperative clinical analysis (p = .43).


Although the threshold of significance for patellofemoral symptoms was not reached, the medial closing-wedge femoral varus osteotomy induces a significant medialization of the patella (Merchant’s congruence angle) and improves short-term functional results even with co-existing patellofemoral osteoarthritis. Due to the lack of specificity of the patellofemoral scores, patellofemoral osteoarthritis improvement is difficult to determine on its own, but does not represent a contraindication to FVO.

Level of evidence

III. Prospective clinical study.

Download article