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Several types of surgery can be used to treat patellar tracking disorder or a dislocated kneecap, depending on what is causing the problem. These are some that are commonly done.
One cause of
patellar tracking disorder is a tight lateral
retinaculum. This is a
ligament that anchors the outer edge of the kneecap (patella).
If tightness in this ligament is pulling your kneecap to the side, a surgeon may recommend lateral release surgery to cut the ligament. It is often done with arthroscopic surgery, which involves inserting a thin tube that contains a camera and light through a small incision near the joint.
medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) attaches to the inner edge of the kneecap
to help keep it from slipping toward the outside of the knee.
A damaged MPFL can be repaired with
arthroscopic surgery. Repair surgery may
be the right choice if the ligament was:
In most people, repairing the MPFL makes the knee
joint more stable. But some people will have another dislocation after the surgery. And many people
still have pain and swelling. This may be due to cartilage damage on the
underside of the kneecap.
Some surgeons think it is best to repair MPFL damage right away the first time the kneecap dislocates. Other surgeons will wait until it becomes a repeated
An osteotomy is a surgery that involves cutting the bone. It may be a good treatment option if patellar tracking disorder is caused by a problem with the alignment or structure of the knee.
A tibial tubercle osteotomy moves the tibial tubercle, which is the bump of bone where the patellar tendon
goes into the shinbone (tibia). This is most often done for one or a
combination of conditions in which:
A tibial tubercle osteotomy is often combined with a
Other Works Consulted
Kaplan L, et al. (2007). Patellar maltracking section
of Knee injuries. In PJ McMahon, ed., Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Sports Medicine, pp. 92–95. New York:
Mulford JS, et al. (2007). Assessment and management
of chronic patellofemoral instability. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, British Volume, 89-B(6): 709–716.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Patrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
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