3D patellar shape is associated with radiological and clinical signs of patellofemoral osteoarthritis

Published:January 06, 2023DOI:



      To examine the association between 3D patellar shape and 1) isolated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based patellofemoral osteoarthritis (PFOA), 2) the morphological features of PFOA, and 3) the clinical symptoms of PFOA.


      MRI data from 66 women with isolated MRI-based PFOA and 66 age- and BMI-matched healthy women were selected from a cohort study. The patellae were manually segmented from MRI scans and used to create a 3D statistical shape model (SSM) of the patella. Structural abnormalities were semi-standardized scored on MRI using MRI osteoarthritis knee score (MOAKS). Regression analyses were applied to determine the associations between the shape parameters retrieved from the SSM, group status, clinical symptoms, and structural abnormalities.


      Four shape variants showed a statistically significant (<0.05) association with the group status. The mode responsible for most of the shape variations showed participants with PFOA possess a relatively thicker dorsal bump on the articular part of the patella, compared to patellae of control participants. Three of these variants showed an association with the presence of osteophytes and cartilage loss on the patella. Multiple associations were found between patellar shape and the clinical symptoms of PFOA.


      Patellar shape is associated with the prevalence of MRI-based PFOA in women. Some shape variants were also associated with clinical symptoms. Interestingly, one particular shape variant associated with the presence of MRI-based PFOA was earlier shown to be associated with structural abnormalities associated with OA in a population aged under 40. This may suggest that patellar shape may be an early detectable risk factor for PFOA.


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