What Is Patello-Femoral Replacement?

The patello-femoral joint is the section of the knee that consists of the knee cap and femur (thigh bone). Patello-femoral replacement involves removing and replacing the back of a damaged patella (knee cap) and the adjacent part of the front of the femur.


Your surgeon will perform a thorough physical evaluation before determining the best procedure for optimal results. A patello-femoral replacement will not be performed if pain is relieved through other treatments.


To be considered for this procedure, arthritis must be confined to the patello-femoral compartment of the knee only. If there are any other conditions such as ligament damage, poor patellar tracking, inflammatory arthritis or crystalline arthritis, you may require a different treatment program.

The Surgery

The surgeon will make an incision at the front of the knee, then explore the three compartments to verify that the problem is in fact limited to the patella-femoral joint. Once assessment is complete, the worn surfaces of the patella and adjacent part of the femur are removed. A polyethylene button is fixed to the patella, and a metal prosthesis fixed to the front of the femur. Both components are secured with bone cement. The incision is then closed.

Complications and Risks

Patello-femoral replacement surgery complications are relatively rare, and include infection, blood clots, delayed healing, pain, swelling and stiffness.


After the operation,  pain relievers will be recommended along with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to assist in reducing inflammation.


Physical activities will be restricted until the knee is healed and exercises may be recommended to help strengthen, restore movement and control the pain around the knee.