Joint line elevation in revision TKA leads to increased patellofemoral contact forces

J Orthop Res. 2010 Jan;28(1):1-5. doi: 10.1002/jor.20952.


One difficulty in revision total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is the management of distal femoral bone defects in which a joint line elevation (JLE) is likely to occur. Although JLE has been associated with inferior clinical results, the effect that an elevated joint line has on knee contact forces has not been investigated. To understand the clinical observations and elaborate the potential risk associated with a JLE, we performed a virtual TKA on the musculoskeletal models of four subjects. Tibio- and patellofemoral joint contact forces (JCF) were calculated for walking and stair climbing, varying the location of the joint line. An elevation of the joint line primarily affected the patellofemoral joint with JCF increases of as much as 60% of the patient's body weight (BW) at 10-mm JLE and 90% BW at 15-mm JLE, while the largest increase in tibiofemoral JCF was only 14% BW. This data demonstrates the importance of restoring the joint line, as it plays a critical role for the magnitudes of the JCFs, particularly for the patellofemoral joint. JLE caused by managing distal femoral defects with downsizing and proximalizing the femoral component could increase the patellofemoral contact forces, and may be a contributing factor to postoperative complications such as pain, polyethylene wear, and limited function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / instrumentation
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / methods*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Knee Prosthesis
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Patellofemoral Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Patellofemoral Joint / physiopathology*
  • Patellofemoral Joint / surgery*
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology
  • Tibia / physiopathology
  • Tibia / surgery
  • Walking / physiology