Arthroscopic Lateral Patellar Facetectomy and Lateral Release Can Be Recommended for Isolated Patellofemoral Osteoarthritis


      To analyze the clinical outcomes and survival curve of arthroscopic lateral patellar facetectomy and lateral release for isolated patellofemoral osteoarthritis (PFOA).


      All patients undergoing arthroscopic lateral patellar facetectomy and lateral release between January 2008 and January 2018 were evaluated retrospectively. The inclusion criteria were 1) diagnosis of isolated symptomatic lateral PFOA, 2) PFOA with kissing lesions (defined as a lesion on both the patella and trochlea, which were in direct contact, 3) arthroscopic lateral patellar facetectomy and lateral release, and 4) two-year minimum follow-up. Evaluation included preoperative and postoperative subjective International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC), Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) scores, and visual analogue pain scale (VAS). The primary end point determining the survival curve was revision of lateral facetectomy.


      A retrospective analysis was conducted of 61 consecutive arthroscopic lateral patellar facetectomy and lateral release procedures, performed in 55 patients for a diagnosis of isolated PFOA. Five patients were lost to follow-up, leaving 56 knees (50 patients) available at a mean follow up of 7.5 years (range: 2-10). The cohort included 37 women and 13 men with a mean age of 59 years (range: 34-87). Nine patients (18%) underwent revision surgery: six total knee replacements (TKR), two high tibial osteotomies, and one revision arthroscopic lateral patellar facetectomy. The mean time from arthroscopic facetectomy to TKR was 51 months (range: 10-114). The survival curve rate was 86% at 7.5 years. Both KOOS and IKDC scores improved significantly. These results are confirmed by an analysis of MCID. The mean VAS decreased from 6.98 ± 1.2 preoperatively to 2.06 ± 1.6 at the last follow-up (ΔCI95% = [−5.6; −4.4]; P = .0001).


      Arthroscopic lateral patellar facetectomy and lateral release for isolated PFOA demonstrates sustained significant improvement in knee clinical outcome scores and pain with a low rate of complications and revision surgery at mid-term follow-up. This operation can be recommended in cases of symptomatic isolated PFOA.

      Level of Evidence

      IV, case series
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