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Int Orthop. 2013 Jun;37(6):1075-83. doi: 10.1007/s00264-013-1866-9. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Patellar resurfacing versus nonresurfacing in total knee arthroplasty: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital / Tenth People's Hospital of Tongji University, Shanghai, China.



Patella resurfacing or nonresurfacing in total knee arthroplasty remains controversial. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of patellar resurfacing through an evaluation of the current literature.


We carried out a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials comparing total knee arthroplasties performed with and without patellar resurfacing. Outcomes of reoperation, anterior knee pain and knee scores were analysed.


Fourteen trials assessing 1,725 knees were eligible. The absolute risk of reoperation was reduced by 4 % (95 % confidence interval, 2-6 %) in the patellar resurfacing arm (between-study heterogeneity, P = 0.05, I(2) = 42 %), implying that one would have to resurface 25 patellae (95 % confidence interval, 17-50 patellae) in order to prevent one reoperation. There was no difference between the two groups in terms of anterior knee pain, knee pain score, Knee Society score and knee function score. But in the studies followed up for a mean time of not less than five years, a difference was found between the two arms in Knee Society scores (RR = 2.14, 95 % confidence interval, 0.76-3.52; P = 0.002).


The available evidence indicates that patellar resurfacing reduces the risk of reoperation after total knee arthroplasty. Patellar resurfacing patients may make a difference in long-term follow-up (five or more 5 years) of Knee Society scores. In other aspects, the benefit of patellar resurfacing is limited. Additionally, more carefully and scientifically designed randomised controlled trials are required to further prove the claim.

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