The lack of retropatellar resurfacing at index surgery is significantly associated with failure in patients following patellofemoral inlay arthroplasty: a multi-center study of more than 260 patients

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2022 Apr;30(4):1212-1219. doi: 10.1007/s00167-021-06544-5. Epub 2021 Apr 2.


Purpose: To evaluate the clinical outcomes of patients with a minimum 2-year follow-up following contemporary patellofemoral inlay arthroplasty (PFIA) and to identify potential risk factors for failure in a multi-center study.

Methods: All patients who underwent implantation of PFIA between 09/2009 and 11/2016 at 11 specialized orthopedic referral centers were enrolled in the study and were evaluated retrospectively at a minimum 2-year follow-up. Clinical outcomes included the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) score, the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), the Tegner Scale, the visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain, and subjective patient satisfaction. Pre- and perioperative risk factors were compared among failures and non-failures to determine potential risk factors.

Results: A total of 263 patients (85% follow-up rate) could be enrolled. The mean age at the time of index surgery was 49 ± 12 years with a mean postoperative follow-up of 45 ± 18 months. The overall failure rate was 11% (28 patients), of which 18% (5 patients) were patients with patella resurfacing at index surgery and 82% (23 patients) were patients without initial patella resurfacing. At final follow-up, 93% of the patients who did not fail were satisfied with the procedure with a mean transformed WOMAC Score of 84.5 ± 14.5 points, a mean KOOS Score of 73.3 ± 17.1 points, a mean Tegner Score of 3.4 ± 1.4 points and a mean VAS pain of 2.4 ± 2.0 points. An increased BMI was significantly correlated with a worse postoperative outcome. Concomitant procedures addressing patellofemoral instability or malalignment, the lack of patellofemoral resurfacing at the index surgery and a high BMI were significantly correlated with failure in our patient cohort.

Conclusion: Patellofemoral inlay arthroplasty shows high patient satisfaction with good functional outcomes at short-term follow-up and thus can be considered a viable treatment option in young patients suffering from isolated patellofemoral arthritis. Patellar resurfacing at index surgery is recommended to decrease the risk of failure.

Level of evidence: Retrospective case series, Level IV.

Keywords: Inlay; Knee; Patellofemoral; Patellofemoral arthroplasty; Patellofemoral osteoarthritis; Patellofemoral resurfacing; Retropatellar resurfacing; Trochlea; WAVE prosthesis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty / methods
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis* / surgery
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / surgery
  • Pain / surgery
  • Patella / surgery
  • Patellofemoral Joint* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome