The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 9, 1963 - 1968

Routine Patellar Resurfacing During Total Knee Arthroplasty Is Not Cost-Effective in Patients Without Patellar Arthritis

Zmistowski, Benjamin M. et al.
Knee

Background

Currently, the decision to resurface the patella is often made irrespective of the presence of patellar arthritis. The purpose of this study is to utilize the existing literature to assess cost-utility of routinely vs selectively resurfacing the patella.

Methods

Prospective randomized studies of patella resurfacing vs non-resurfacing in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) were identified through literature review. Data from these studies represented probabilities of varied outcomes following TKA dependent upon patella resurfacing. Using previously validated utility scores from the McKnee modified Health Utilities Index, endpoint utility values were provided for each potential outcome.

Results

Literature review yielded a total of 14 studies with 3,562 patients receiving 3,823 TKAs, of which 1,873 (49.0%) patellae were resurfaced. Persistent postoperative anterior knee pain occurred in 20.9% vs 13.2% ( P < .001) and patella reoperation was performed in 3.7% vs 1.6% ( P < .001) of unresurfaced and resurfaced patella, respectively. In studies excluding those with arthritic patellae, the incidence of anterior knee pain was equivalent between groups and reoperation decreased to 1.2% vs 0% ( P = .06). Patella resurfacing provided marginally improved quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) for both selective and indiscriminate patella resurfacing. When including all studies, the incremental cost per QALY was $3,032. However, when analyzing only those studies with nonarthritic patellae, the incremental cost per QALY to resurface the patella increased to $183,584.

Conclusion

Patellar resurfacing remains a controversial issue in TKA. Utilizing data from new prospective randomized studies, this analysis finds that routinely resurfacing arthritis-free patellae in TKA are not cost-effective.

Download article