Patellar Tracking in Revision Total Knee Arthroplasty: Does Retaining a Patella From a Different Implant System Matter?

J Arthroplasty. 2021 Jun;36(6):2126-2130. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2021.01.082. Epub 2021 Feb 4.


Background: Patellar maltracking is a potential surgical complication following total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and can result in anterior knee pain, recurrent patellar dislocation, and damage to the medial patellar soft tissue stabilizers. Data remain unclear as to whether the patellar button should be revised during a revision TKA (rTKA) if changing the component implant system. Our study examines whether retaining the original patellar button during an rTKA using a different implant system affects patellar tracking.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study of rTKA patients between August 2011 and June 2019 was performed at an urban, tertiary referral center. Patients were divided into 2 cohorts depending on whether their retained patella from their primary TKA was of the same (SIM) or different implant manufacturer (DIM) as the revision system used. Radiographic measurements were performed on preoperative and postoperative knee radiographs and differences were compared between the 2 groups. Baseline demographic data were also collected.

Results: Of the 293 consecutive, aseptic rTKA cases identified, 122 underwent revision in the SIM cohort and 171 in the DIM cohort. There were no demographic differences between the groups. No statistical significance was calculated for differences in preoperative and postoperative patellar tilt or Insall-Salvati ratio between the groups. The DIM group was found to have more lateral patellar translation (-0.01 ± 6.09 vs 2.68 ± 7.61 mm, P = .001). However, when calculating differences in the magnitude of the translation (thereby removing differences due to laterality), no difference was observed (0.06 ± 3.69 vs 0.52 ± 4.95 mm, P = .394).

Conclusion: No clinically significant differences in patellar tracking were observed when the original patellar component was retained and a different revision implant system was used. Given the inherent risks of bone loss and fracture with patellar component revision, surgeons performing rTKA may retain the primary patella if it is well fixed and can still expect appropriate patellar tracking regardless of the revision implant system used.

Level of evidence: III, Retrospective cohort study.

Keywords: alignment; patellar; retained patella; revision TKA (rTKA); total knee arthroplasty (TKA); tracking.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Knee Prosthesis*
  • Patella / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies