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Patella Stabilisation Surgery

Patella stabilisation surgery, also known as knee stabilisation surgery, plays a crucial role in treating patella dislocation and other conditions that affect the stability of the knee joint.

The knee joint is a complex structure, and the patella, or knee cap, is an essential component of its stability. When the patella becomes unstable or dislocated, it can lead to pain, limited mobility, and further complications if left untreated. Patella stabilisation surgery aims to restore the normal functioning of the knee joint, alleviate pain, and improve overall knee health.

Key Takeaways

  • Patella stabilisation surgery is essential for restoring knee health and joint stability.
  • The patella plays a crucial role in the stability of the knee joint.
  • Conditions like patella dislocation can be effectively treated with surgical intervention.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment are vital in preventing further complications.
  • Physiotherapy plays a significant role in post-surgical recovery and preventing re-injury.

Understanding Patella Stabilisation Surgery

The Importance of the Patella in Knee Movement

The patella, commonly known as the kneecap, plays a crucial role in the stability and function of the knee joint. It acts as a protective shield, redistributing forces and reducing stress on the underlying structures.

During movement, the patella glides smoothly along the femur, enabling the quadriceps muscles to generate power for activities such as walking, running, and jumping. Without a stable patella, these movements can become compromised, leading to pain and dysfunction.

Understanding the importance of the patella in knee movement highlights the significance of maintaining its stability and alignment. Surgically assisted patellar stability aims to restore proper patellar tracking, allowing for optimal knee function and reducing the risk of further complications.

Conditions Leading to  Patellar Instability

Several conditions can contribute to patellar instability and necessitate surgical intervention. These include:

  1. Patellar dislocation: A traumatic event that causes the patella to completely or partially dislocate from its normal position.
  2. Patellar subluxation: The patella partially moves out of its groove but spontaneously returns to its original position.
  3. Patellar maltracking: The patella does not move in its groove accurately, leading to abnormal stress and potential instability.
  4. Patellar tilt: The patella tilts to one side, affecting its gliding motion and causing discomfort.

These conditions can result in knee pain, swelling, instability, and difficulty performing daily activities. Surgically assisted patellar stability aims to address these underlying issues, restoring the patella to its proper position and improving overall knee function.

Condition Symptoms
Patellar dislocation Pain, swelling, visible deformity, inability to bear weight on the affected leg
Patellar subluxation Intermittent pain, feeling of instability, snapping or clicking sensation in the knee
Patellar maltracking Painful Knee, popping or grinding sensation, feeling of instability
Patellar tilt Pain around the kneecap, grinding sensation, decreased knee range of motion

Anatomy of a Stable Knee

In order to understand the factors affecting patellar stability, it is important to have a clear understanding of the anatomy of a stable knee. A stable knee joint relies on the harmonious interaction of various structures, including the patella, or kneecap.

Normal Functioning of the Patella in a Healthy Knee

The patella acts as a protective shield for the front of the knee joint, preventing direct impact on the underlying bones and ensuring smooth movement during knee flexion and extension. The patellofemoral joint, formed between the patella and the femur, allows for efficient transmission of forces and helps to distribute the load evenly across the knee joint.

The Role of the Medial Patellofemoral Ligament (MPFL)

The medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) attaches the medial (inner) side of the patella to the femur, providing primary support against lateral (sideways) displacement of the patella. The MPFL acts as a restraint, preventing the patella from dislocating towards the outer side of the knee. It plays a crucial role in knee joint stabilization and helps to maintain proper patellar tracking.

Diagnosing Patellar Instability

In order to effectively address patellar instability and provide appropriate treatment, it is crucial to accurately diagnose the condition. Healthcare professionals employ various approaches and techniques to identify and diagnose patellar instability. By understanding the diagnostic process, individuals can make informed decisions regarding their options available for treatment and ensure the stability of their knee joint.

Signs and Symptoms of Patella Instability

Knee Pain and Mobility Issues Post Patella Dislocation

One of the primary signs of patella instability is a painful Knee. When a patella dislocates, individuals may experience persistent or recurring pain in the knee joint. This pain can range from mild discomfort to severe and debilitating, depending on the extent of the instability. Additionally, mobility issues may arise, including difficulty walking or engaging in physical activities that require knee joint mobility.

The Chronic Nature of Patellar Subluxation

Patellar subluxation, a partial dislocation of the patella, often exhibits a chronic nature. This means that individuals may experience repeated episodes of the patella slipping out of its normal position. Symptoms of chronic patellar instability usually include frequent pain in the knees, episodes of the knee giving way or feeling unstable, swelling, and a sensation of the patella clicking or catching during movement.

Signs and Symptoms of Patella Instability
Painful Knee
Mobility issues after Patella dislocation
Chronic patellar subluxation

Non-Surgical Alternatives and When to Consider Surgery

In the treatment of patellar instability, non-surgical options play a significant role in managing the condition. Conservative treatments can effectively address mild to moderate cases of patellar instability, providing relief from painful knees and helping restore stability to the joint. However, in some cases, surgical stabilisation may be necessary to achieve long-term results and prevent further injury.

Assessing the Efficacy of Conservative Treatments

Before considering surgical intervention, it is essential to explore the efficacy of non-surgical alternatives for patellar instability. These conservative treatments aim to strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve knee alignment, and reduce stress on the patella. They may include:

  • Physical therapy exercises to improve muscle strength and restore balance
  • Bracing or taping techniques to provide additional support to the knee joint
  • Modification of physical activities to avoid excessive strain on the patella

These conservative approaches can often alleviate symptoms and improve patellar stability, especially when the instability is mild or caused by muscle weakness. It is important to work closely with a healthcare professional to customize a treatment plan based on the individual’s specific needs and goals.

Indications for Moving from Non-Surgical to Surgical Stabilisation

In certain cases, non-surgical treatments may not provide sufficient relief or result in long-term patellar stability. Indications for considering surgical stabilisation can include:

  • Severe patellar instability causing recurrent dislocations or subluxations
  • Structural abnormalities or imbalances in the knee joint
  • Inadequate response to conservative treatments
  • Significant limitation in daily activities due to knee instability

If non-surgical alternatives fail to provide satisfactory improvement or if the severity of the patellar instability requires more aggressive intervention, surgical stabilisation may be recommended by your specialist.

It is important to note that the decision to undergo this type of surgery should be made on an individual basis, taking into account the specific circumstances and goals of the patient. A thorough evaluation by your knee surgeon is essential in determining the most appropriate treatment approach for patellar instability.

Patella Stabilisation Surgery – (MPFL Reconstruction Surgery, Kneecap stabilisation Surgery, Tibial Tubercle Transfers)

We understand the importance of knee health and the need for knee stabilisation (stabilise the kneecap). Patella stabilisation surgery is a crucial procedure that aims to stabilise the patella and realign the knee joint, providing long-term stability and improving overall knee joint function.

There are various surgical procedures available for patella stabilisation. Your surgeon may recommend different approaches depending on the specific condition and needs of the patient. The chosen procedure may involve repairing torn ligaments, reinforcing existing ligaments, or realigning the patella using techniques such as trochleoplasty or tibial tubercle transfer.

By understanding the surgical options available, individuals can make informed decisions about their treatment journey. It is important to consult with a qualified orthopedic specialist who can assess the specific case and recommend the most appropriate surgical procedure for optimal knee joint stabilization.

The Recovery Journey: Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

Immediate Post-Surgical Care

Immediately following surgery, patients require proper care and attention to facilitate a successful recovery and pain relief. This includes:

  • Monitoring vital signs to ensure stability
  • Managing pain and discomfort through prescribed medications
  • Applying ice packs and compression to reduce swelling
  • Using assistive devices, such as crutches or knee braces, for mobility

By adhering to these post-surgical care guidelines, individuals can mitigate discomfort and lay the groundwork for subsequent rehabilitation.

Physiotherapy and Muscular Rehabilitation

Physiotherapy and muscular rehabilitation play a pivotal role in the journey towards full recovery. Under the guidance of a qualified physiotherapist, individuals can engage in exercises and interventions that promote:

  • Strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee joint
  • Restoring range of motion and flexibility
  • Improving balance, stability, and coordination
  • Enhancing overall functional capacity

A comprehensive rehabilitation program may include a combination of manual therapies, specific exercises, and equipment-assisted training. The exact approach will depend on individual needs, the extent of the surgery, and the desired outcome. By diligently following the physiotherapy program, patients can optimize their recovery, expedite the healing process, and ultimately regain full functionality in the knee joint.


Patella stabilisation surgery plays a vital role in ensuring knee health and joint stability. Throughout this article, we have highlighted the significance of addressing patella instability and its impact on overall knee function. By understanding the importance of the patella in knee movement and the anatomy of a stable knee, individuals can better comprehend the options for treatment and diagnosis for patellar instability.

We have discussed the various conditions that may lead to the need for surgically assisted patellar stability, as well as the signs and symptoms of patella instability. It is crucial for individuals experiencing pain on the knee and mobility issues after dislocating their patella to seek timely medical attention and appropriate treatment.

Patella stabilisation surgery offers effective solutions to realign the knee joint and restore stability. However, it is essential to undergo proper post-surgery rehabilitation, including immediate post-surgical care and physiotherapy, to optimize recovery and regain full function in the knee joint. Additionally, the importance of physiotherapy before and after surgery cannot be overstated, as it plays a significant role in preventing re-injury and maximizing the success of the surgical procedure.

If you or someone you know is experiencing patella instability, we encourage you to seek appropriate medical care to address the condition and ensure long-term knee health.


What is patella stabilization surgery?

Patella stabilization surgery is a surgical procedure designed to restore stability to the kneecap (patella) and realign the knee joint. It is typically performed to treat conditions such as patellar instability or recurrent patella dislocations.

How does the patella contribute to knee movement?

The patella acts as a natural pulley, providing leverage to the thigh muscles and allowing for smooth knee movements. It helps to increase the mechanical advantage of the quadriceps muscles and improves joint stability during activities such as walking, running, and jumping.

What conditions can lead to the need for patella stabilization surgery?

Patella stabilization surgery may be necessary in cases of patellar instability, recurrent patella dislocations, chronic subluxation, or significant ligament damage. These conditions can cause persistent painful knees, joint instability, and limited mobility.

How is patellar instability diagnosed?

Patellar instability is diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, medical history assessment, and imaging studies such as X-rays, MRI scans, or CT scans. These diagnostic tools help healthcare professionals evaluate the extent of instability and determine the most appropriate treatment approach.

What are the signs and symptoms of patella instability?

Signs and symptoms of patella instability may include recurrent patella dislocation, a feeling of the knee giving way, knee pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty with straightening or bending the knee. These symptoms can impact daily activities and athletic performance.

What does patella stabilisation surgery involve?

Patella stabilization surgery involves various surgical techniques aimed at realigning the patella and improving knee joint stability. Common procedures include medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction, tibial tubercle osteotomy, or lateral release. The specific technique used depends on the individual’s condition and the surgeon’s assessment.

What is the recovery process after patella stabilisation surgery?

The immediate post-surgical care typically involves pain management, immobilization, and the use of crutches. After a few weeks, rehabilitation begins with physiotherapy and exercises to restore muscle strength and joint mobility. The recovery process can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery.

How does physiotherapy help in the recovery after patella stabilisation surgery?

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the recovery after patella stabilisation surgery. It helps to strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve joint mobility, and restore normal knee function. Physiotherapy also focuses on preventing re-injury and maximizing the success of the surgical procedure.

Are there non-surgical alternatives for patellar instability?

Non-surgical alternatives, such as physical therapy, knee braces, or orthotics, may be considered as initial treatment options for patellar instability. However, if these conservative measures fail to provide adequate stability or the condition worsens, surgical intervention may be necessary.

When should surgery be considered for patellar instability?

Surgery for patellar instability should be considered when conservative treatments fail to alleviate symptoms or when there is persistent knee joint instability, recurrent dislocations, or significant ligament damage. The decision for surgery is typically made on an individual basis, taking into account the patient’s symptoms and overall knee health.

Is Patella Stabilisation Surgery and Knee replacement the same?

No, Patella Stabilisation Surgery and Knee Replacement are distinct procedures with different objectives in addressing knee-related issues.

Patella Stabilisation Surgery, also known as kneecap stabilisation, focuses on realigning and stabilizing the patella (kneecap) within the knee joint. It is performed to treat conditions such as patellar instability (Kneecap instability), dislocation, or maltracking, aiming to restore proper patellar function and alleviate associated symptoms.

What is realignment surgery?

Realignment surgery, also known as osteotomy, involves altering the alignment of bones to correct deformities or improve joint function. In the context of the knee, realignment surgery aims to correct misalignments, such as those in patellar tracking, to restore proper joint mechanics and alleviate associated symptoms.

What is keyhole surgery?

Keyhole surgery, or laparoscopy, is a minimally invasive surgical technique where small incisions are made for a camera and instruments to access and perform procedures inside the body.

Is kneecap stabilisation surgery Patella Stabilisation Surgery the same?

Yes, kneecap stabilisation surgery and Patella Stabilisation Surgery are synonymous terms referring to a procedure aimed at realigning and stabilizing the patella within the knee joint.

Is MPFL reconstruction and kneecap stabilisation surgery the same?

MPFL reconstruction and kneecap stabilization surgery are related but not exactly the same. MPFL reconstruction specifically addresses the medial patellofemoral ligament, a crucial structure for patellar stability.

Can an orthopaedic surgeon treat Patella Stabilisation Surgery?

Yes, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who specializes in the Knee can treat conditions like Patellar Instability and can perform Patella Stabilisation Surgery.


Image Credits : kjpargeter on Freepik

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