Purpose: To identify parameters associated with deterioration of patellofemoral (PF) cartilage after open-wedge high tibial osteotomy (OWHTO) and determine predictive values. It was hypothesized that cartilage injuries in PF joints would progress after OWHTO in patients who need a large alignment correction.
Methods: Fifty-two knees in 47 patients who underwent bi-planer OWHTO for the treatment of medial compartment osteoarthritis from 2012 to 2017 and received a second-look arthroscopy at the time of plate removal (mean 14 months post-OWHTO) were assessed. Clinical outcomes were evaluated by the Knee Society Scores. Cartilage status in PF joints were evaluated arthroscopically using the International Cartilage Repair Society (ICRS) grading system. Patients were divided into two groups and patients who had progressed PF cartilage injury (progressed group) were compared with those who did not have progressed PF cartilage injuries (non-progressed group) using various parameters. The relationships between medial opening gap or change in the medial proximal tibial angle (ΔmPTA) and progression of PF cartilage injuries were examined by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.
Results: The mean Knee Society Scores were significantly improved after surgery (P < 0.01). The grades for the patella and trochlea progressed in 12 (23.0%) and 16 knees (30.8%), respectively. The mean preoperative hip-knee-ankle (HKA) angle, mechanical axis, and mPTA in the progressed group were significantly smaller than those in the non-progressed group (P < 0.01). The mean medial opening gap and ΔmPTA in the progressed group were significantly larger than those in the non-progressed group (P < 0.01). ROC curve analysis showed that the cut-off values of the medial opening gap and ΔmPTA for progression of PF cartilage injuries were 13 mm and 9°, respectively. Progression of PF cartilage injuries was more frequently observed in knees with a medial opening gap ≥ 13 mm (P = 0.019, odds ratio = 4.60) or a ΔmPTA ≥ 9° (P = 0.003, odds ratio 6.93) than knees with those of < 13 mm or 9°, respectively.
Conclusions: Cartilage injuries in PF joints tended to progress after OWHTO in patients with medial opening gap ≥ 13 mm or ΔmPTA ≥ 9°. If medial opening gap is ≥ 13 mm or ΔmPTA is ≥ 9° in planning for OWHTO, other type of surgery may need to be considered to avoid early progression of PF cartilage injuries.
Level of evidence: Level IV, therapeutic case series.
Keywords: Arthroscopic evaluation; Open wedge high tibial osteotomy; Patellofemoral joint.