Surface damage of patellar components used in total knee arthroplasty

Michael A. Conditt, Philip C. Noble, Bryce Allen, Ming Shen, Brian S. Parsley, Kenneth Mathis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Patellofemoral complications are a common cause of failure of total knee replacement. In this study, we examined eighty-five patellar components that had been retrieved for a variety of reasons after a mean of 71.9 months in vivo. The objective of this study was to identify factors contributing to surface damage of patellar components in total knee replacements. Methods: The retrieved patellar components were of three primary designs: dome-shaped, sombrero-shaped, and pseudo-anatomic. Five zones on each specimen were evaluated for five different types of damage (creep, pitting, delamination, abrasion, and burnishing). The severity of the damage was assigned a score of 0 to 4, with 0 indicating no damage and 4 indicating extreme damage. The extent of the damage was also assigned a score of 0 to 4, with 0 indicating 0% and 4 indicating 76% to 100%. An asymmetry ratio was calculated for each damage pattern to evaluate the uniformity of the distribution of the damage across each component. Results: Eighty-six percent of the components had a damage score of ≥4 (product of the extent and severity scores) for at least one damage mechanism (creep for 38% of the components, pitting for 47%, delamination for 26%, abrasion for 49%, and burnishing for 76%). Components that had been in situ for more than two years had significantly more severe creep, delamination, and burnishing than components that had been in place for less than two years. Metal-backed designs had more severe damage than all-polyethylene components. Factors that reduced the occurrence and severity of polyethylene damage were a congruent patellar design (a non-dome-shaped component) and the use of an asymmetric femoral component. Conclusions: Damage to the patellar component was a common finding, particularly when the implant had been retrieved more than two years after implantation. Moreover, delamination was frequently found on the patellar components, as has been observed by others who examined retrieved tibial inserts. The results of this study suggest that the use of congruent patellar components may reduce damage. Clinical Relevance: Understanding the causes of failure of patellar components may be important for addressing an etiology of pain and dysfunction following total knee arthroplasty. COPYRIGHT

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1265-1271
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Surface damage of patellar components used in total knee arthroplasty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this