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Anterior knee pain and/or radiological evidence of degeneration of the patellofemoral joint are considered to be contraindications to unicompartmental knee replacement. The aim of this study was to determine whether this is the case. Between January 2000 and September 2003, in 100 knees (91 patients) in which Oxford unicompartmental knee replacements were undertaken for anteromedial osteoarthritis, pre-operative anterior knee pain and the radiological status of the patellofemoral joint were defined using the Altman and Ahlback systems. Outcome was evaluated at two years with the Oxford knee score and the American Knee Society score. Pre-operatively 54 knees (54%) had anterior knee pain. The clinical outcome was independent of the presence or absence of pre-operative anterior knee pain. Degenerative changes of the patellofemoral joint were seen in 54 patients (54%) on the skyline radiographs, including ten knees (10%) with joint space obliteration. Patients with medial patellofemoral degeneration had a similar outcome to those without. For some outcome measures patients with lateral patellofemoral degeneration had a worse score than those without, but these patients still had a good outcome, with a mean Oxford knee score of 37.6 (SD 9.5). These results show that neither anterior knee pain nor radiologically-demonstrated medial patellofemoral joint degeneration should be considered a contraindication to Oxford unicompartmental knee replacement. With lateral patellofemoral degeneration the situation is less well defined and caution should be observed.

Original publication




Journal article


The journal of bone and joint surgery. british volume

Publication Date





1602 - 1607


Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX3 7LD, UK.


Cartilage, Articular, Femur, Patella, Knee Joint, Humans, Osteoarthritis, Knee, Pain, Treatment Outcome, Preoperative Care, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Severity of Illness Index, Prospective Studies, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Female, Male