Background: Anteromedialization is recommended for cartilage restoration of patellofemoral defects, with the presumption that it decreases contact pressures across the trochlea. No study has evaluated pressures on the trochlear side of the patellofemoral joint after anteromedialization of the tibial tubercle.
Hypothesis: Anteromedialization of the tibial tubercle decreases contact pressure across the trochlea.
Study design: Controlled laboratory study.
Methods: Ten cadaveric knees were tested by placing an electroresistive pressure sensor on the femoral side of the patellofemoral joint. A validated model of nonweightbearing resisted extension was simulated by loading the extensor mechanism at 89.1 N and 178.2 N. Knees were tested 3 times per load at 30 degrees , 60 degrees , 90 degrees , and 105 degrees . The center of force and pressure across the patellofemoral articulation were compared before and after a reproducible and consistent anteromedialization.
Results: The mean center of force shifted medially after anteromedialization at 89.1 N and 178.2 N. At 89.1 N, the mean total contact pressure decreased significantly (P < .05) at all angles, and at 178.2 N, it decreased significantly at 30 degrees , 60 degrees , and 90 degrees of knee flexion. The mean lateral trochlear contact pressure decreased significantly (P < .05) at all flexion angles at both 89.1 N and 178.2 N. The mean central trochlear contact pressure decreased significantly (P < .05) at 30 degrees with the 89.1-N and 178.2-N loads but increased significantly (P < .05) at 90 degrees with the 89.1-N load. The mean medial trochlear contact pressure increased significantly (P < .05) at all flexion angles at 89.1 N and 178.2 N.
Conclusion: Anteromedialization shifts the contact force to the medial trochlea and decreases the mean total contact pressure.
Clinical relevance: Anteromedialization decreases the mean total contact pressure while shifting contact pressure toward the medial trochlea. This study suggests that anteromedialization is appropriate for unloading the lateral trochlea. However, this procedure appears to have minimal benefit on central chondral defects, and it may actually increase the load in patients with medial defects.