Why are knee patella surgeries performed?
There are two main reasons for undergoing knee patella surgeries. The first reason is chronic pain caused by improper alignment of the patella (kneecap) with the femur (thighbone). This often manifests as pain at the front of the knee. The other reason for surgery is recurrent patellar dislocation, where the kneecap repeatedly dislocates from its normal position. In such cases, the patella may be surgically realigned to prevent further dislocations.
What are the symptoms?
- Pain at the front of the knee.
- Increased pain during activities such as cycling, stair climbing, kneeling, and prolonged sitting with bent knees.
- Swelling of the knee.
- Recurrent patellar dislocations or a sensation of the kneecap about to dislocate.
What causes issues with the kneecap?
There are many different causes that can contribute to pain and patellar dislocations. It is often a combination of factors, including the stability of the ligaments that support the kneecap, the depth of the groove through which the kneecap slides, the location of the attachment of the patellar tendon, and the shape of the leg.
How is the diagnosis made?
The diagnosis is made by your orthopedic surgeon during the consultation in the clinic and through a physical examination. To get a comprehensive understanding of the various factors that may be involved, an MRI scan and X-rays are typically performed.
Treatment of patellar instability
When the exact cause of patellar pain or patellar dislocations is known, an appropriate surgical procedure can be chosen. Due to the various underlying causes, the surgeries can differ for each patient. One commonly performed procedure to address these issues is a tuberosity transposition, which involves repositioning the attachment of the patellar tendon, sometimes combined with a reinforcement of the medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL). The MPFL reconstruction specifically targets the inner band of the kneecap.
What does the rehabilitation process look like?
The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, allowing you to return home on the same day. For the first 6 weeks, you will wear an adjustable brace and use crutches. The complete rehabilitation process typically takes 6 to 9 months. However, after 6 weeks, you should be able to resume most daily activities.