Patella (kneecap) stabilisation surgery for kneecap dislocations

What is it?

Patella (kneecap) stabilisation is used to treat patients who suffer repeated kneecap dislocation. Your kneecap sits in a groove at the end of your thigh bone and moves within the groove, allowing the up and down motion required to bend your knee. However, injury can cause the kneecap to dislocate and move out of the groove from side to side.

You may need surgery if you have the following symptoms:

  • Recurrent kneecap instability
  • Persistent kneecap pain

Diagnosis and treatment options

Your consultant will take a detailed history of your symptoms, followed by a thorough examination of your knee. You might need some additional tests:

  • X-ray
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • CT scan

There are generally two types of surgical procedures for kneecap dislocation:

Soft tissue surgery (more common)

During surgery, your surgeon will reconstruct the injured ligament that holds the inside of the kneecap to the inside of the thigh bone. The ligament is reconstructed using hamstring tendon harvested from your own knee. This surgery is a medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction.

Bony surgery (less common)

During surgery, your surgeon may reshape the groove (trochlea) that the kneecap is supposed to travel down as some patients have an abnormally flat trochlea as opposed to a groove. This surgery is called trochleoplasty.

Patella stabilisation surgery is routinely performed as a daycase procedure, however it does require an extended period of physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

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