Fifty-seven patients who underwent 65 primary TKAs between 1993-1994 were retrospectively studied to identify the technical challenges and pitfalls associated with patellar resurfacing and to improve patellar tracking during total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Average patient age was 69 years. All surgeries were performed by a single surgeon (J.N.I), and the same prosthesis was used in all patients. Intraoperatively, attention was paid to avoid femoral and tibial component malrotation and prevent overstuffing of the patellofemoral joint. Preoperative limb alignment was varus in 42 knees, neutral in 6 knees, and valgus in 17 knees. Average pre-resection patellar thickness measured 23.8 mm and post-resection thickness averaged 21.5 mm. No patella-prosthesis composite was thicker than the native patella. Two (3%) knees required a formal lateral release to improve patellar tracking at surgery. Average follow-up for 53 patients (61 knees) was 5 years. At latest follow-up, 4 (6%) patients reported mild anterior knee pain, 5 (7%) patients reported pain with stairs, and 2 (3%) patients had knee crepitus without pain. No dislocations or recurrent subluxations occurred. No patient required revision surgery for patellofemoral complication. Awareness of the anatomic variability, attention to component rotation, and restoration of the normal patellar height improves patellar tracking and minimizes patellofemoral instability following TKA.

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