DOI: 10.2106/jbjs.rvw.23.00071 ISSN:

Modern Patellofemoral Arthroplasty

Elizabeth C. Bond, Taylor P. Stauffer, Stephanie Hendren, Annunziato Amendola
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


The ideal procedure for isolated patellofemoral arthritis is a controversial topic. Patellofemoral arthroplasty (PFA) is an option that aims to restore normal kinematics to the knee while preserving bone. PFA has been shown to have benefits compared with total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in this patient population but has historically had a high failure rate. Revision rates are improving with modern implants and tight indications but still remain higher than TKA. This review summarizes current thinking around PFA using modern implants and techniques in 2023, provides an implant-specific analysis, and assesses how we can improve outcomes after PFA based on the current literature. The aim was to provide an outline of the evidence around PFA on which surgeons can make decisions to optimize patient outcome in this young and active population.


Four databases (MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, and SPORTDiscus) were searched for concepts of patellofemoral joint arthroplasty. After abstract and text review, a screening software was used to assess articles based on inclusion criteria for studies describing indications, outcomes, and techniques for isolated PFA using modern implants, with or without concomitant procedures.


A total of 191 articles were included for further examination, with 62 articles being instructional course lectures, systematic reviews, technique articles, narrative reviews, expert opinions, or meta-analyses. The remaining articles were case reports, trials, or cohort studies. Articles were used to create a thorough outline of multiple recurrent topics in the literature.


PFA is an appealing option that has the potential to provide a more natural feeling and functioning knee for those with isolated PF arthritis. The high rate of revision is a cause for concern and there are several technical details that should be stressed to optimize results. The uncertain outcome after revision to TKA also requires more investigation. In addition, the importance of strict selection criteria and firm indications cannot be stressed enough to optimize longevity and attempt to predict those who are likely to have progression of tibiofemoral osteoarthritis. The development of new third-generation implants is promising with excellent functional outcomes and a much lower rate of maltracking and implant complications compared with earlier generations. The impact of these implants and improvement in surgical techniques on the revision rate of PFA will be determined from longer-term outcomes.

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