A 31 year old male patient came into the office complaining of continuous knee pain. He also complained that his kneecap would “give out”. During the examination, we determined the problems began back in 2008 following a work injury. The patient explained that during the incident, he had twisted his knee at work, which had caused his knee to dislocate.
At the time, the patient had been treated with physical therapy and a brace. He was able to return to work following the injury but continued to suffer with the symptoms described above for years. Upon examination, it was determined that he was suffering from chronic patella instability and multiple dislocations.
As part of the examination, we noted the following:
- Knee swelling
- Increased patella laxity
- Positive patellar apprehension sign
- Increased Q angle
It was determined that the best treatment approach was to combine two surgical procedures at the same time. The first procedure is referred to as MPFL reconstruction. The medial patellofemoral ligament or MPFL is a thin band of tissue that attaches the kneecap to the inner part of the knee. When the kneecap dislocates, it often tears the MPLF on the inside of the knee, which is important for stability in the knee. During the procedure, the MPFL is reconstructed and re-attached in the most anatomically correct position. To do this, we used a hamstring allograft and replaced the torn MPFL.
The second procedure is referred to as anterio-medialization of the tibal tubercle. The operation focuses on recentering the patella and reduces patellofemoral contact pressure. This improves the Q angle and reduces lateral vector force on the reconstructed MPFL.
The surgery proved to be a success. Following surgery, the patient was in a hinged brace and utilized crutches for 4 weeks. He then completed 12 weeks of physical therapy that was focused on edema control, range of motion and strength training. He was able to return to his job as a laborer 3 months post-op. He is currently doing extremely well and no longer suffers from patellar instability. He currently works 50-60+ hours per week without difficulty.