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J Arthroplasty. 2003 Apr;18(3 Suppl 1):35-8.

Orthopaedic crossfire--All patellae should be resurfaced during primary total knee arthroplasty: in opposition.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, SL 32, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


After more than 20 years of debate, the decision on whether to resurface the patella in primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) remains controversial. Laboratory testing suggests that performing a TKA alters knee kinematics. Every study to date has suggested that kinematics are more abnormal when the patella is resurfaced than when it is retained. In addition, patellofemoral contact areas are higher and contact stresses are lower with the native patella compared with the resurfaced patella after TKA. Virtually every clinical study of bilateral knee arthroplasty in which one patella has been resurfaced and the other has not has shown either equivalent results or a preference for the unresurfaced side. Laboratory and clinical data indicate that not resurfacing the patellar is a viable if not preferable option in most TKA patients.

Copyright 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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