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Orthop Clin North Am. 1992 Oct;23(4):665-73.

Patellar resurfacing for patellofemoral arthritis.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.


Knee pain referable to the patellofemoral articulation is common in the general population. It remains a troubling problem for the orthopedic surgeon. Frequently, initial therapy, involving activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications, and isometric quadriceps strengthening, is successful in relieving symptoms. Surgical intervention is normally reserved for those patients with pain that is resistant to these modalities. Unfortunately, none of the various surgical options has proved to be totally dependable, durable, or reproducible. The results of isolated patellar and patellofemoral resurfacing procedures have been guarded. Patellar resurfacing appears to be most beneficial in younger patients with severe anterior knee pain. These individuals should be clearly warned that there is a relatively high likelihood that they will require additional surgical treatment or patellectomy at a later date. Fortunately, patellar resurfacing does not preclude patellectomy from being easily performed. Patellofemoral resurfacing, however, involves more overall involvement of the knee joint. This makes patellectomy less likely to be a successful salvage procedure. Despite our observations that knees with primary patellofemoral arthritis do not do as well after total knee replacement as those with tibio-femoral arthritis, this procedure remains the best treatment option. The durability and predictability of total knee arthroplasty are well documented. Its results far surpass those reported for isolated resurfacing procedures. With regard to patellar resurfacing as part of total knee arthroplasty, we recommend resurfacing all patellae. The literature, although not conclusive, lends support to this practice. Avoidance of metal-backed patellar components and special attention to technical details should decrease the complications associated with patellar resurfacing in future studies.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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