It remains controversial whether patellofemoral joint pathology is a contraindication to lateral unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA). This study aimed to evaluate the effect of preoperative radiological degenerative changes and alignment on patient-reported outcome scores (PROMs) after lateral UKA. Secondarily, the influence of lateral UKA on the alignment of the patellofemoral joint was studied.
A consecutive series of patients who underwent robotic arm-assisted fixed-bearing lateral UKA with at least two-year follow-up were retrospectively reviewed. Radiological evaluation was conducted to obtain a Kellgren Lawrence (KL) grade, an Altman score, and alignment measurements for each knee. Postoperative PROMs were assessed using the Kujala (Anterior Knee Pain Scale) score, Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score Joint Replacement (KOOS JR), and satisfaction levels.
A total of 140 knees (130 patients) were identified for analysis. At mean 4.1 years (2.0 to 8.5) follow-up, good to excellent Kujala scores were reported. The presence of mild to moderate preoperative patellofemoral joint osteoarthritis had no impact on these scores (KL grade 0 vs 1 to 3, p = 0.203; grade 0 to 1 vs 2 to 3, p = 0.674). Comparable scores were reported by patients with osteoarthritis (Altman score of ≥ 2) evident on either the medial or lateral patellofemoral joint facet (medial, p = 0.600 and lateral, p = 0.950). Patients with abnormal patellar congruence and tilt angles (≥ 17° and ≥ 14°, respectively) reported good to excellent Kujala scores. Furthermore, lateral UKA resulted in improvements to patellofemoral alignment.
This is the first study demonstrating that mild to moderate preoperative radiological degenerative changes and malalignment of the patellofemoral joint are not associated with poor patient-reported outcomes at mid-term follow-up after lateral fixed-bearing UKA. Our data suggest that this may be explained by realignment of the patella and thereby redistribution of loads across the patellofemoral joint.
Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(6):727–735.