Medial patellofemoral ligament injury following acute transient dislocation of the patella: MR findings with surgical correlation in 14 patients

J Comput Assist Tomogr. 2001 Nov-Dec;25(6):957-62. doi: 10.1097/00004728-200111000-00021.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / diagnosis*
  • Joint Dislocations / surgery
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patella / injuries*
  • Patella / surgery
  • Patellar Ligament / injuries*
  • Patellar Ligament / surgery