How Do Surgeons Repair Dislocated Kneecaps?

Bike Accident

The kneecap is a very important part of the knee that helps protect the bones, tissue, and cartilage within the joint from impact. However, it’s possible for the kneecap itself to be injured, which can affect your ability to move or put weight on your knee.

The kneecap is held in place by several muscles and ligaments. Often, a dislocation occurs due to an injury to one or more of these muscles or ligaments. Think of it this way: These muscles and ligaments act as a track for the kneecap, allowing it to slide forward and backward as you bend or straighten your knee. When one or both sides of the track are disabled, the kneecap can slide out of place, which causes pain and keeps you from bending your knee.

Sometimes, a dislocated knee can recover on its own with some time and physical therapy. However, after one dislocation, you have a higher chance of experiencing more in the future. That’s why many people visit orthopedic surgeons to repair damaged tissue if they’ve had a dislocated kneecap.

Types of dislocated kneecap surgery

Surgeons have a few different options for correcting a dislocated kneecap depending on the cause and where the damage is located in your knee. Below are some of the most frequently performed operations for a dislocated kneecap:

  • Lateral release — Usually, a dislocated kneecap pulls toward the outside of the knee. To keep this from happening, surgeons may make an incision in the tissue on the outside of the knee joint capsule. The goal of this procedure is to reduce the tension that pulls the kneecap off of the track.
  • Medical imbrication — A good way to think of this procedure is that it’s the opposite of lateral release. Rather than cutting a portion of tissue on the outside of the knee, surgeons performing this procedure aim to tighten tissue on the inside of the knee. Again, the objective is to build a better track to hold the kneecap in alignment.
  • MPFL reconstruction — A kneecap causes the medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) to tear when it dislocates. Sometimes, surgeons can repair this ligament using minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques. However, if the damage is severe enough, surgeons may have to remove the damaged ligament and replace it with healthy tissue from your body or a donor.

Visit iRISE Spine & Joint Institute for dislocated kneecap surgery

Do you have issues with your kneecap constantly sliding out of place, causing pain, stiffness, and instability in your knee? Our orthopedic surgeons at Florida Spine & Joint Institute specialize in these procedures and more to help prevent kneecap dislocations. Contact our team today for more information about dislocated kneecap surgery or to schedule an initial appointment.