Patella (kneecap) dislocation is a very common injury. Most first time dislocations heal without any problems with bracing (usually 6 weeks) followed by physiotherapy. Patient Information Leaflet
Photograph of a dislocated patella.
The medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) is a very important knee ligament that is torn or stretched when the kneecap is dislocated. It is the commonest cause of recurrent dislocation.
Recurrent patella dislocation
Feeling that the kneecap is about to dislocate during activity
If the kneecap recurrently dislocates or feels unstable during activity – you may benefit from an MPFL reconstruction. In some cases an MRI is useful to identify any other problems in the knee and to visualise the torn ligament.
End on MRI view of the patella showing a MPFL rupture.
The operation (which is a day case procedure under a general anaesthetic) uses 1 of your hamstring tendons harvested from the back of the inner knee. The power of the knee is NOT affected by this. The tendon is attached from the inner side of the kneecap to the inner aspect of the femur. The hamstring graft is tunnelled under the skin. You will have 3 small scars after the operation (3cm on the kneecap, 2cm on inner femur and 3cm inner tibia).
Diagram of the basic surgical technique
After the operation, you will be able to weight bear as pain allows with crutches wearing a hinged knee brace for 6 weeks.