Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of MRI in determining both the extent and the location of injury to the medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL).
Method: MR findings were compared to the surgical results of 14 consecutive patients who experienced transient patellar dislocation. Two musculoskeletal radiologists, blinded to the surgical results, retrospectively reviewed the MR studies, and a consensus reading was obtained.
Results: Surgery demonstrated complete disruption of the MPFL in 7 of 14 patients (50%), with stretching or partial tearing of the MPFL in the remaining 7 (50%) patients. MRI was 85% sensitive and 70% accurate in detecting MPFL disruption. Vastus medialis obliquus muscle elevation was present in 12 of 14 (85%).
Conclusion: MRI accurately depicts both the extent and the location of MPFL injury following transient patellar dislocation and can therefore play a significant role in directing surgical management of these patients.