Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®: November 2008 - Volume 466 - Issue 11 - p 2769-2774 doi: 10.1007/s11999-008-0417-y

Predicting Patellar Failure After Total Knee Arthroplasty

Meding, John B., MD1,2,a; Fish, Mark D., DO1,2; Berend, Michael E., MD1,2; Ritter, Merrill A., MD1,2; Keating, Michael E., MD1,2

We identified patient and surgeon factors associated with patellar component failure in a series of 8530 TKAs performed in 5640 patients using the same posterior cruciate ligament-retaining TKA with all-polyethylene patellar components between January 1983 and December 2003. Patellar failure was defined as loosening, fracture, or patellar revision. All infections were excluded. Statistical analysis using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression was used to determine the risk of patellar failure. Followup averaged 7.0 years (range, 2-22 years). Patellar component loosening occurred in 4.8% of TKAs (409 knees). Patellar fracture was identified in 5.2% of TKA (444 knees). Twenty-five patellae were revised (0.3%). TKA performed with a lateral release and patients with a body mass index of greater than 30 kg/m2 were at the greatest risk of patellar loosening and fracture, respectively. Male gender, preoperative varus alignment of greater than 5°, and large patellar component size also predicted a higher risk of patellar fracture. Medial patellar component position, tibial component thickness of greater than 12 mm, preoperative valgus alignment of 10° or more, and preoperative flexion of 100° or more predicted patellar loosening. An awareness of these factors that predict patellar failure after TKA may help determine the relative indications for TKA and influence surgical technique, especially when using this prosthesis.


Level of Evidence: Level IV, prognostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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