Anterior knee pain (AKP) is a frequent symptom after a total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Patellar denervation (PD) has been put forth as a technique to reduce this pain; however, its effects have not been assessed in combination with patellar resurfacing. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of PD on AKP and functional outcomes after TKA with patellar resurfacing.
A prospective study was designed that included patients scheduled for TKA with patellar resurfacing. The 202 recruited patients were randomized into either the PD group or the non-denervation group [mean age 72.7 years (SD 8.2); 119 (70.4%) women and 50 (29.6%) men; average body mass index 31.4 kg/m2 (SD 4.9)]. Pressure pain threshold (PPT) assessed by pressure algometry (PA), visual analogue scale(VAS), patellofemoral Feller score and the Knee Society Scores (KSS) were recorded preoperatively and at the 1-year follow-up.
169 patients were included in data analysis. At the 1-year follow-up, there were mild differences between denervation and non-denervation group in PPT value (494.4 kPa vs. 552.3 kPa, p = 0.047) and in VAS at stairs (2.9 vs. 1.5, p = 0.003) in favour of the non-denervation group. There was no difference in the improvement between groups in patellofemoral Feller score and KSS, but slightly higher improvement in non-denervation group in PPT (94.1 kPa vs. 160 kPa, p = 0.047), VAS walking (5.3 vs. 6.2, p = 0.041) and VAS at stairs (4.6 vs. 5.7, p = 0.022).
Patellar denervation does not improve AKP and clinical outcomes in primary TKA with patellar resurfacing compared to patellar replacement without denervation. PD cannot be recommended when patellar replacement is performed in TKA.