Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 3572–3581 | Cite as

Combined distal femoral osteotomy (DFO) in genu valgum leads to reliable patellar stabilization and an improvement in knee function

  • Jannik Frings
  • Matthias Krause
  • Ralph Akoto
  • Peter Wohlmuth
  • Karl-Heinz Frosch



Valgus deformities of the lower extremity influence patellofemoral joint kinematics. However, studies examining the clinical outcome after treatment of patellar instability and maltracking due to valgus deformity are rare in recent literature. This study’s purpose is to analyze the clinical results after combined distal femoral osteotomy (DFO) for treatment of patellar instability.


From 2010 to 2016, 406 cases of patellofemoral instability and maltracking were treated. Twenty cases of recurring (≥ 2) patellar dislocations with genu valgum and unsuccessful conservative treatment were included in the study. A radiological analysis was performed, and anteroposterior (AP), lateral and long leg standing radiographs were analyzed, and the leg axis was pre- and postoperatively measured. At least 12 months postoperatively, the clinical leg axis, range of motion (ROM), apprehension sign, Zohlen sign, and J-sign were physically examined. Pain level and knee function were objectified on a visual analogue scale (VAS). The Lysholm, Kujala, and Tegner scores, re-dislocation rate, and patient satisfaction were also examined.


20 combined DFOs on 18 patients with a median age of 23 years (15–55 years) were performed. The preoperative mechanical leg axis was 6.5° ± 2.0° valgus, and the mean tibial tuberosity to trochlear groove (TT-TG) distance was 19.1 ± 4.8 mm. All patients reported multiple dislocations. Intraoperatively, 71% presented III°–IV° cartilage lesions, located retropatellarly in 87% and correlating negatively with the postoperative Lysholm score (r = − 0.462, p = 0.040). The leg axis was corrected by 7.1° ± 2.6°, and in 17 cases, the tibial tubercle was additionally medialized by 10 ± 3.1 mm. All patellae were re-stabilized with medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction. After a median period of 16 (12–64) months, the pain level decreased from 8.0 ± 1.4 to 2.3 ± 2.1 (VAS p ≤ 0.001) and knee function improved from 40.1 ± 17.9 to 78.5 ± 16.6 (Kujala p ≤ 0.001), 36.1 ± 19.5 to 81.6 ± 11.7 (Lysholm p ≤ 0.001), and 2.0 (1–5) to 4.0 (3–6) (median Tegner p ≤ 0.001). No re-dislocation was observed.


Combined DFO is a suitable treatment for patellar instability and maltracking due to genu valgum, as it leads to very low re-dislocation rates, a significant reduction of pain, and a significant increase of knee function with good-to-excellent results in the short-term follow-up. However, a high prevalence of substantial cartilage lesions is observed, causing postoperative limitations of knee function.

Level of evidence

IV, retrospective cohort study.


Patella Instability Maltracking Distal femur Osteotomy Genu valgum Deformity Correction MPFL 



Each author certifies that no financial support was received for this study.


The study was funded by Asklepios Kliniken Hamburg GmbH (#3209).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was given by the ethics committee of the Medical Chamber of Hamburg, Germany (ID PV5191).


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Copyright information

© European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery, Arthroscopy (ESSKA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jannik Frings
    • 1
  • Matthias Krause
    • 1
  • Ralph Akoto
    • 1
  • Peter Wohlmuth
    • 1
  • Karl-Heinz Frosch
    • 1
  1. 1.Chirurgisch-Traumatologisches Zentrum, Asklepios Klinik St. GeorgHamburgGermany

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