The bone mineral density (BMD) of the distal femur decreases by 16-36% within one year after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) because of the femoral component's stress-shielding effect. The aim of this prospective study was to determine the quantitative change from the baseline BMD in the distal femur 1 year after patellofemoral arthroplasty using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).
Between December 2007 and December 2008, 14 patients had patellofemoral arthroplasty for isolated patellofemoral osteoarthritis. Distal femoral BMD was assessed using DXA in 2 regions of interest (ROI) on the lateral view 2 weeks before and 12 months after patellofemoral arthroplasty. The contra-lateral knee was used as a control, with BMD measurements performed in identical ROIs.
The mean change from baseline BMD in the operated knees after 1 year was -0.169 g/cm2 (95% CI: -0.293 to -0.046 g/cm2) behind the anterior flange (-15%), and -0.076 g/cm2 (95% CI: -0.177 to 0.024 g/cm2) in the supracondylar area 1 cm above the prosthesis (-8%) (p = 0.01 and p = 0.13, respectively). The mean change from baseline BMD in the non-operated knees after 1 year was 0.016 g/cm2 (95% CI: -0.152 to 0.185 g/cm2) behind the anterior flange (2%), and 0.023 g/cm2 (95% CI: -0.135 to 0.180 g/cm2) in the supracondylar area 1 cm above the prosthesis (2%) (p = 0.83, and p = 0.76, respectively).
Our findings suggest that patellofemoral arthroplasty results in a statistically significant decrease in BMD behind the anterior flange.