Distal Femoral Valgus and Recurrent Traumatic Patellar Instability: Is an Isolated Varus Producing Distal Femoral Osteotomy a Treatment Option?

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Abstract

Background:

Genu valgum, a risk factor for recurrent patellofemoral instability, can be addressed with a varus producing distal femoral osteotomy (DFO). The purpose of this study is to report 3-year clinical and radiographic outcomes on a series of skeletally mature adolescents with traumatic patellofemoral instability and genu valgum who underwent a varus producing DFO.

Methods:

Consecutive patients (n=11) who underwent an isolated DFO for recurrent traumatic patellar instability over a 4-year study period (2009 to 2012) were reviewed. All patients were below 19 years of age, skeletally mature, had ≥2 patellar dislocations, genu valgum (≥ zone II mechanical axis) and failed nonoperative treatment. Exclusion criteria included less than three-year follow-up, congenital or habitual patellar instability, osteotomy indicated for pathology other than patellar instability, or biplanar osteotomies. Demographic, clinical, and radiographic data were retrospectively analyzed. Recurrence of instability and outcome measures (Kujala and Tegner Activity Scale) were collected at final followed-up prospectively.

Results:

Ten of 11 patients (average age, 16 y; range, 14 to 18 y; 4 male individuals: 7 female individuals) with an average follow-up of 4.25 years (range, 3.2 to 6.0 y) met inclusion criteria. The average body mass index (BMI) of all patients was 31.3 (range, 19.7 to 46.8) with 91% considered overweight (BMI>25) and 55% obese (BMI>30). The average preoperative lateral distal femoral angle was 75.4 degrees with an average correction of 10.4 degrees (range, 7 to 12 degrees) (P<0.001). Mean patellar height ratios were reduced; with Caton-Deschamps Index significantly reduced to 1.08 (range, 0.86 to 1.30) (P<0.005). The average postoperative Kujala score was 83.6 (range, 49 to 99) with 7 subjects (70%) reporting good to excellent function (Kujala > 80) and 8 (80%) having no further episodes of instability. The mean postoperative Tegner activity score was 5.5 (range, 3 to 7).

Conclusions:

A distal femoral varus producing osteotomy may change radiographic parameters associated with patellar instability and improve clinical outcomes by reducing symptomatic patellofemoral instability in this patient population.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV.

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