An Algorithmic Approach to the Management of Recurrent Lateral Patellar Dislocation

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2016 Mar 2;98(5):417-27. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.O.00354.


High-level evidence supports nonoperative treatment for first-time lateral acute patellar dislocations. Surgical intervention is often indicated for recurrent dislocations. Recurrent instability is often multifactorial and can be the result of a combination of coronal limb malalignment, patella alta, malrotation secondary to internal femoral or external tibial torsion, a dysplastic trochlea, or disrupted and weakened medial soft tissue, including the medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) and the vastus medialis obliquus. MPFL reconstruction requires precise graft placement for restoration of anatomy and minimal graft tension. MPFL reconstruction is safe to perform in skeletally immature patients and in revision surgical settings. Distal realignment procedures should be implemented in recurrent instability associated with patella alta, increased tibial tubercle-trochlear groove distances, and lateral and distal patellar chondrosis. Groove-deepening trochleoplasty for Dejour type-B and type-D dysplasia or a lateral elevation or proximal recession trochleoplasty for Dejour type-C dysplasia may be a component of the treatment algorithm; however, clinical outcome data are lacking. In addition, trochleoplasty is technically challenging and has a risk of substantial complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Braces
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / surgery*
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods*
  • Patellar Dislocation / diagnosis
  • Patellar Dislocation / etiology
  • Patellar Dislocation / surgery*
  • Patellar Dislocation / therapy
  • Patellar Ligament / surgery
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Recurrence