Preoperative Patellofemoral Chondromalacia is Not a Contraindication for Fixed-Bearing Medial Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty

J Arthroplasty. 2017 Jun;32(6):1786-1791. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Jan 16.


Background: Patellofemoral chondromalacia (PFCM) has historically been considered a contraindication for unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA), but there is limited data assessing PFCM's impact on the results of fixed-bearing UKA. Our objective was to assess the impact of medial patellar and/or medial trochlear PFCM on overall and patellofemoral-specific 2-year outcomes after fixed-bearing medial UKA.

Methods: Intraoperative notes defined the presence and location of PFCM during fixed bearing medial UKA. Outcome measures included the New Knee Society Score (NKSS), Kneeling Ability Score (KAS) and Forgotten Joint Score (FJS-12). Thirty-one knees with PFCM (PFCM group), and 52 knees without PFCM (N-PFCM group) were included for analysis. Mann-Whitney U tests assessed the statistical significance of observed differences, and a Bonferroni correction was applied, adjusting threshold for significance to P = .005.

Results: At minimum follow-up of 2 years, no statistical differences were detected between the N-PFCM and PFCM groups in the postoperative NKSS (159 vs 157, P = .731), preoperative to postoperative NKSS change (P = .447), FJS-12 (70.5 vs 67.6, P = .471), or KAS (71% vs 65%, P = .217). Patients with isolated patellar chondromalacia (n = 13) demonstrated trends toward worse outcomes according to NKSS (147, P = .198), FJS-12 (58, P = .094), and KAS (46%, P = .018), but were statistically insignificant. No failures occurred in either group.

Conclusion: Functional outcomes of fixed-bearing medial UKA are not adversely impacted by the presence of PFCM involving the medial patellar facet and/or medial or central trochlea. Further follow-up is needed to determine longer-term implications of fixed-bearing medial UKA in patients with PFCM.

Keywords: clinical follow-up; fixed-bearing; medial; patellofemoral chondromalacia; unicompartmental knee arthroplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / instrumentation
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / methods*
  • Cartilage Diseases / surgery*
  • Contraindications
  • Contraindications, Procedure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee / surgery
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Knee Prosthesis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery
  • Patella / surgery
  • Patellofemoral Joint / physiology
  • Postoperative Period
  • Treatment Outcome