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Steinbrueck, Arnd; Schroeder, Christian; Woiczinski, Matthias; Fottner, Andreas; Mueller, Peter E. und Jansson, Volkmar: Patellofemoral contact patterns before and after total knee arthroplasty: an in vitro measurement. In: Biomedical Engineering Online 2013, 12


Background: Patellofemoral complications are one of the main problems after Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA). Retropatellar pressure distribution after TKA can contribute to these symptoms. Therefore we evaluated retropatellar pressure distribution subdivided on the ridge, medial and lateral surface on non-resurfaced patella before and after TKA. Additionally, we analyzed axial femorotibial rotation and quadriceps load before and after TKA. Methods: Seven fresh frozen cadaver knees were tested in a force controlled knee rig before and after TKA (Aesculap, Tuttlingen, Germany, Columbus CR) while isokinetic flexing the knee from 20 degrees to 120 degrees under weight bearing. Ridge, medial and lateral retropatellar surface were defined and pressure distribution was dynamically measured while quadriceps muscles and hamstring forces were applied. Aside axial femorotibial rotation and quadriceps load was recorded. Results: There was a significant change of patella pressure distribution before and after TKA (p = 0.004). In physiological knees pressure distribution on medial and lateral retropatellar surface was similar. After TKA the ridge of the patella was especially in higher flexion grades strongly loaded (6.09 +/-1.31 MPa) compared to the natural knee (2.92 +/-1.15 MPa, p < 0.0001). Axial femorotibial rotation showed typical internal rotation with increasing flexion both before and after TKA, but postoperatively it was significantly lower. The average amount of axial rotation was 3.5 degrees before and after TKA 1.3 degrees (p = 0.001). Mean quadriceps loading after implantation of knee prosthesis did not change significantly (575 N +/- 60 N in natural knee and after TKA 607 N +/- 96 N; p = 0.28). Conclusions: The increased retropatellar pressure especially on the ridge may be one important reason for anterior knee pain after TKA. The trochlea of the femoral component might highly influence the pressure distribution of the non-resurfaced retropatellar surface. Additionally, lower axial femorotibial rotation after TKA might lead to patella maltracking. Changing the design of the prosthesis or a special way of patella shaping might increase the conformity of the patella to trochlea to maintain natural contact patterns.