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Am J Sports Med. 2007 Jul;35(7):1180-7. Epub 2007 Mar 16.

Results of arthroscopic medial retinacular release for treatment of medial subluxation of the patella.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, USA.



Medial subluxation of the patella is a rare, disabling condition that has iatrogenic and traumatic causation. To date, only open reconstructions have been reported for operative treatment of this condition, but these procedures have a high rate of complications, revisions, and subsequent surgery. This is the first study to present the results of arthroscopic medial retinacular release for treatment of this problem.


Arthroscopic release will alleviate painful medial patellar subluxation.


Case series; Level of evidence, 4.


Nine knees (7 patients) with painful, recurrent medial subluxation of the patella that occurred spontaneously (2 knees) or after a lateral release (5 knees) or an injury (2 knees) were treated with an arthroscopic medial retinacular release. The retinaculum was released 2 cm medial to the superior pole of the patella down to the anteromedial portal. At a mean follow-up of 2.7 years (range, 1-8 years), all knees were evaluated, and the results were graded according to the Merchant and Mercer rating scale.


The mean age of the patients was 25 years (range, 15-38 years), and the mean duration of the subluxations before surgery was 28 months (range, 6-48 months). In all 7 patients (9 knees), the medial release relieved their medial subluxation and knee pain, and there were 6 excellent and 3 good results. There were no complications or further realignment surgery needed after this procedure.


An arthroscopic medial retinacular release will successfully treat painful medial subluxation of the patella.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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