Superior-inferior position of patellar component affects patellofemoral kinematics and contact forces in computer simulation

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Anterior knee pain has been reported as a major postoperative complication after total knee arthroplasty, which may lead to patient dissatisfaction. Rotational alignment and the medial-lateral position correlate with patellar maltracking, which can cause knee pain postoperatively. However, the superior-inferior position of the patellar component has not been investigated. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of the patellar superior-inferior position on patellofemoral kinematics and kinetics.


Superior, central, and inferior models with a dome patellar component were constructed. In the superior and inferior models, the position of the patellar component translated superiorly and inferiorly, respectively, by 3 mm, relative to the center model. Kinematics of the patellar component, quadriceps force, and patellofemoral contact force were calculated using a computer simulation during a squatting activity in a weight-bearing deep knee bend.


In the inferior model, the flexion angle, relative to the tibial component, was the greatest among all models. The inferior model showed an 18.0%, 36.5%, and 22.7% increase in the maximum quadriceps force, the maximum medial patellofemoral force, and the maximum lateral patellofemoral force, respectively, compared with the superior model.


Superior-inferior positions affected patellofemoral kinematic and kinetics. Surgeons should avoid the inferior position of the patellar component, because the inferior positioned model showed greater quadriceps and patellofemoral force, resulting in a potential risk for anterior knee pain and component loosening.

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