We designed a simple IRB-approved study to evaluate the intraoperative effect of patellar thickness on knee flexion and patellar tracking during total knee arthroplasty. Routine PCL-retaining total knee arthroplasty was performed in 31 consecutive knees. With clinical balance and congruent patella tracking established, custom trial patellar components that were thicker than the standard trial by 2-mm increments (2-8 mm) were sequentially placed and trialed. Passive flexion was recorded to the nearest 5 degrees with an intraoperative goniometer and gross mechanics of patellofemoral tracking were visually assessed. On average, passive knee flexion decreased 3 degrees for every 2-mm increment of patellar thickness. Furthermore, for the knee system used in this study, increased patellar thickness had no gross effect on patellar subluxation or tilt.

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