J Knee Surg 2023; 36(12): 1283-1288
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1755354
Original Article

Effect of Patellofemoral Arthroplasty on Patellar Height in Patients with Patellofemoral Osteoarthritis

Hannah Lee
1   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine, Ringgold Standard Institution, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Connor Fletcher
2   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City, New York
Matthew Hartwell
3   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine Ringgold Standard Institution, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
2   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City, New York
› Author Affiliations


Osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee is common, painful, and may be uni- or multicompartmental. The compartment affected by arthritis may be due to trauma, malalignment (varus or valgus), or in the case of patellofemoral OA, patella alta. Patellofemoral arthroplasty (PFA) is an effective partial knee replacement surgery for patellofemoral OA. We hypothesized that PFA can decrease patellar height. In addition, we predicted better outcomes for patients with patella alta before PFA and those whose patellar heights decreased after PFA. This is a retrospective cohort study of PFA patients from 2012 to 2020. Before and after PFA, we measured patellar heights on X-ray images and collected patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) (International Knee Documentation Committee score, Kujala Anterior Knee Pain Score, and Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey for mental and physical health). Statistical analyses assessed PROMs and compared outcomes based on pre- and postoperative patella height. Of 133 knees, 73% presented with patella alta and 61% had patellar heights that decreased after PFA. Compared with patients who did not present with patella alta, patients with patella alta reported similar outcomes with respect to knee function, pain, and general physical and mental health. Compared with patients whose patellar heights decreased after PFA, patients whose knees did not decrease in height reported greater improvements in pain and function. Our findings suggest that patella alta is commonly found in patients with patellofemoral OA and that PFA can decrease patellar height. Future studies are needed to assess whether patellofemoral OA patients with greater degrees of patella alta would benefit from staged or concurrent tibial tubercle distalization.

Publication History

Received: 15 December 2021

Accepted: 19 June 2022

Article published online:
01 September 2022

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