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Patellofemoral joint degeneration is often considered a contraindication to medial unicompartmental knee replacement. We examined the validity of this preconception using information gathered prospectively on the intra-operative status of the patellofemoral joint in 824 knees in 793 consecutive patients who underwent Oxford unicondylar knee replacement for anteromedial osteoarthritis. All operations were performed between January 1998 and September 2005. A five-point grading system classified degeneration of the patellofemoral joint from none to full-thickness cartilage loss. A subclassification of the presence or absence of any full-thickness cartilage loss was subsequently performed to test selected hypotheses. Outcome was evaluated independently by physiotherapists using the Oxford and the American Knee Society Scores with a minimum follow-up of one year. Full-thickness cartilage loss on the trochlear surface was observed in 100 of 785 knees (13%), on the medial facet of the patella in 69 of 782 knees (9%) and on the lateral facet in 29 of 784 knees (4%). Full-thickness cartilage loss at any location was seen in 128 knees (16%) and did not produce a significantly worse outcome than those with a normal or near-normal joint surface. The severity of the degeneration at any of the intra-articular locations also had no influence on outcome. We concluded that, provided there is not bone loss and grooving of the lateral facet, damage to the articular cartilage of the patellofemoral joint to the extent of full-thickness cartilage loss is not a contraindication to the Oxford mobile-bearing unicompartmental knee replacement.

Original publication




Journal article


J bone joint surg br

Publication Date





1597 - 1601


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Cartilage, Articular, Femur, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Knee Joint, Middle Aged, Osteoarthritis, Knee, Patella, Prospective Studies, Severity of Illness Index, Treatment Outcome