Patellofemoral Overstuff and Its Relationship to Flexion after Total Knee Arthroplasty

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Abstract

Flexion is an important outcome variable after total knee arthroplasty. Traditionally, matched implant-bone resections of the distal and posterior aspects of the femur are used to prevent loss of knee flexion or extension. However, given limited implant sizes, resection of these portions of the femur may affect the shape of the knee. Variations in the anterior aspects of the femur along with implant size constraints may increase trochlear groove height in the anterior compartment, increase the arc that the extensor mechanism must travel, and thereby decrease passive flexion. We determined the trochlear groove height change in 55 patients after primary total knee arthroplasties. The thickness of the replaced lateral and medial anterior flanges increased by 1.1 ± 2.6 mm and 0.5 ± 2.2 mm, respectively, whereas the change in trochlear groove thickness was 0 ± 1.1 mm. We examined varying amounts of patellofemoral buildup in a cadaver model to observe the effect on passive range of motion of the knee. A 2-mm and 4-mm buildup of the anterior cortex resulted in flexion loss of 1.8° and 4.4°, respectively. The change in the shape of the anterior aspect of the femur may have small effects on flexion but they may not be clinically important.

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