Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

, Volume 133, Issue 4, pp 561–567

The efficacy of patellar decompression for improving anterior knee pain following total knee arthroplasty without patellar resurfacing

  • Gun Woo Lee
  • Sun-Mi Lee
  • Soo-Jin Jang
  • Jung-Hwan Son
Knee Arthroplasty

DOI: 10.1007/s00402-013-1702-0

Cite this article as:
Lee, G.W., Lee, SM., Jang, SJ. et al. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg (2013) 133: 561. doi:10.1007/s00402-013-1702-0



Anterior knee pain remains common following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of patellar decompression via drilling for the treatment of anterior knee pain following TKA without patellar resurfacing.


A prospective cohort study was performed in 271 consecutive patients who underwent primary total knee replacement with patellar decompression (study group, n = 131) or without decompression (control group, n = 140). The patients were assessed according to the Knee Society rating, clinical anterior knee pain score, and British Orthopaedic Association patient-satisfaction score in each group. Each assessment was performed without the examiner knowing whether the patella had been decompressed. Radiographic evaluations were also performed according to the Knee Society scoring system for functional activity and our own severity grade system for patellofemoral articular change.


There were no adverse events following patellar decompression. The overall prevalence of anterior knee pain was not significantly different between groups (p = 0.71). However, patients presenting pain over grade II after the operation in the study group were statistically low (p = 0.01). The overall postoperative knee scores were higher in the study group, but there were no significant differences between groups (p = 0.0731). Analyses of the radiographs revealed similar postoperative outcomes in both groups of knees.


As we observed significantly lower rates of anterior knee pain and no patellar complications following patellar decompression via drilling in TKA without patellar resurfacing, we recommend performing patellar decompression in cases of total knee replacement without patellar resurfacing.


Anterior knee pain Patellar decompression Total knee arthroplasty 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gun Woo Lee
    • 1
  • Sun-Mi Lee
    • 2
  • Soo-Jin Jang
    • 3
  • Jung-Hwan Son
    • 3
  1. 1.Spine Center and Department of Orthopaedic SurgerySeoul National University College of Medicine and Seoul National University Bundang HospitalSungnamRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Family MedicineDong-A University College of MedicineBusanRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryKosin University Gospel HospitalBusanRepublic of Korea

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