No Advantage to Resurfacing of the Knee Cap with Total Knee Replacement
The largest study of it’s kind to date has concluded that adding in resurfacing of the knee cap with a total knee replacement doesn’t make the outcome better. Knee cap resurfacing, or patellar resurfacing has been popular of late and involves cutting away the cartilage surface of the patella and installing a “cap” on the back of that bone as well as a special femoral prosthesis. The basic idea was that since the knee replacement surgery was replacing the inside and outside compartments of the knee joint, why not replace the front compartment as well? The concept was born from the clinical observation that many knee replacement patients seemed to continue to complain of pain in the front of the knee. At first blush the idea of knee cap resurfacing seems to make sense, but this study of nearly two thousand knee replacement patients failed to find an advantage in pain relief or function after the procedure. The upshot? If you’re considering a knee replacement, unless there’s very good evidence that most of your problem is due to pain behind the knee cap, don’t take the added surgical risk of installing yet another new part under the knee cap.