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Changes in articular cartilage in experimentally induced patellar subluxation
  1. Junnosuke Ryu,
  2. Shu Saito,
  3. Kazuki Yamamoto
  1. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
  1. Dr J Ryu, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Nihon University School of Medicine, 30-1 Oyaguchi Kamimachi, Itabashiku, Tokyo, Japan 173.


OBJECTIVES Patellar subluxation was experimentally induced in young rabbits and the resulting cartilaginous changes were observed over a prolonged period of time to determine histological changes in the subluxated patellar cartilage.

METHODS The tibial tuberosity in 12 week old rabbits was laterally displaced and fixed to the tibia with wire to induce lateral patellar subluxation. Pathological changes in patellar cartilage were examined for 120 weeks after surgery using computed tomography and stereoscopic microscopy.

RESULTS Eight weeks after surgery, changes in articular cartilage consisting of horizontal splitting of the matrix were observed in the intermediate zone and were presumed to have been caused by shearing stress applied to the patellar cartilage. The cartilaginous changes caused by patellar subluxation progressed very little over the 120 weeks. Very few rabbits presented with osteoarthritic changes in the patellofemoral joint, most probably because the stress resulting from the malalignment of the patellofemoral joint was mild enough to permit recovery.

CONCLUSION The mild, non-progressive pathological changes, in particular, basal degeneration, induced in this experiment in patellar cartilage were quite similar to the changes in articular cartilage seen in human chondromalacia patellae.

  • articular cartilage
  • cartilage degeneration
  • patellar subluxation
  • chondromalacia patellae

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