The Knee, ISSN: 1873-5800, Vol: 24, Issue: 5, Page: 1233-1239

Patellofemoral arthroplasty conversion to total knee arthroplasty: Retrieval analysis and clinical correlation

Christ, Alexander B; Baral, Elexis; Koch, Chelsea; Shubin Stein, Beth E; Gonzalez Della Valle, Alejandro; Strickland, Sabrina M


Patellofemoral arthroplasty (PFA) can be a successful, bone-sparing treatment for isolated patellofemoral arthritis. However, progression of tibio-femoral arthritis or incorrect indications may predispose patients to early conversion to total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The purpose of this study was to review the clinical cases and perform retrieval analysis of PFA conversions to TKA at our institution.


Twenty one patellofemoral arthroplasties in 18 patients that were converted to TKA were identified through our implant retrieval registry. Sixteen implants were available for review by biomechanical engineers, who recorded surface markings, wear patterns, and integrity of fixation. Patient charts were reviewed and time to conversion, tourniquet time, conversion implant, additional surgeries, infections, and Kellgren & Lawrence grade of the tibio-femoral joint on pre-operative radiographs were recorded.


PFAs converted to TKAs at our institution were implanted for an average of 2.7 years. The most common reason for conversion was pain, but most patients had significant tibio-femoral arthritis, as indicated by an average Kellgren & Lawrence grade of 2.6. The average tourniquet time for these conversions was 67 min. These patients underwent an average of one additional surgery per PFA converted, and the infection rate of these conversions was approximately 14%.


Success of PFA depends upon correct patient selection rather than implant failure or wear. Conversion of PFA to TKA is technically similar to primary TKA, with similar post-operative pain relief and range of motion. However, infection rates and complications requiring further surgery are more consistent with results seen in revision TKA.


Level of evidence: IV

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