What is the role of surgery in the treatment of patellofemoral syndrome (PFS)?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Noel F So, MD, FAAPMR; Chief Editor: Consuelo T Lorenzo, MD  more...
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Surgical intervention for patellofemoral syndrome usually is in the form of arthroscopic evaluation followed by release of the lateral attachments of the patella. Most authors agree that surgical treatment rarely is indicated. Arthroscopy has been cited as assisting the physician with clinical diagnoses; however, the visualization procedure, in and of itself, does not significantly help the symptoms of patellofemoral pain. [22]

  • Surgical procedures performed for patellofemoral arthritis include lateral facetectomy and patellar resurfacing.

  • Follow-up evaluations long after anterior advancement of the tibial tuberosity suggest limited results with this procedure.

  • Research on cartilage transplantation is being performed. Additional surgical options may be added in the future.

  • Arthroscopic drilling of osteochondral defects allows healing of the defect with fibrocartilage. This procedure routinely is performed. This form of cartilage is not of the normal type but provides for an improved surface compared to an osteochondral defect.

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