The effect of trochlear dysplasia on patellofemoral biomechanics: a cadaveric study with simulated trochlear deformities

Am J Sports Med. 2015 Jun;43(6):1354-61. doi: 10.1177/0363546515572143. Epub 2015 Mar 4.


Background: Trochlear dysplasia appears in different geometrical variations. The Dejour classification is widely used to grade the severity of trochlear dysplasia and to decide on treatment.

Purpose: To investigate the effect of trochlear dysplasia on patellofemoral biomechanics and to determine if different types of trochlear dysplasia have different effects on patellofemoral biomechanics.

Study design: Controlled laboratory study.

Methods: Trochlear dysplasia was simulated in 4 cadaveric knees by replacing the native cadaveric trochlea with different types of custom-made trochlear implants, manufactured with 3-dimensional printing. For each knee, 5 trochlear implants were designed: 1 implant simulated the native trochlea (control condition), and 4 implants simulated 4 types of trochlear dysplasia. The knees were subjected to 3 biomechanical tests: a squat simulation, an open chain extension simulation, and a patellar stability test. The patellofemoral kinematics, contact area, contact pressure, and stability were compared between the control condition (replica implants) and the trochlear dysplastic condition and among the subgroups of trochlear dysplasia.

Results: The patellofemoral joint in the trochlear dysplastic group showed increased internal rotation, lateral tilt, and lateral translation; increased contact pressures; decreased contact areas; and decreased stability when compared with the control group. Within the trochlear dysplastic group, the implants graded as Dejour type D showed the largest deviations for the kinematical parameters, and the implants graded as Dejour types B and D showed the largest deviations for the patellofemoral contact areas and pressures.

Conclusion: Patellofemoral kinematics, contact area, contact pressure, and stability are significantly affected by trochlear dysplasia. Of all types of trochlear dysplasia, the models characterized with a pronounced trochlear bump showed the largest deviations in patellofemoral biomechanics.

Clinical relevance: Investigating the relationship between the shape of the trochlea and patellofemoral biomechanics can provide insight into the short-term effects (maltracking, increased pressures, and instability) and long-term effects (osteoarthritis) of different types of trochlear dysplasia. Furthermore, this investigation provides an empirical explanation for better treatment outcomes of trochleoplasty for Dejour types B and D dysplasia.

Keywords: experimental testing; patellofemoral dislocation; patellofemoral kinematics; patellofemoral pressures; rapid prototyping.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / pathology*
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Patella / pathology*
  • Patellofemoral Joint / pathology*
  • Pressure
  • Rotation