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Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2015 Apr;23(4):1071-6. doi: 10.1007/s00167-014-2887-7. Epub 2014 Feb 15.

Developmental anomaly of ossification type patella partita.

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Oohashi Orthopaedic Clinic, 38-20, Ninomiya-3-choume, Fukui City, Fukui-Ken, 910-0015, Japan,



Bipartite patella has been recognized as an incidental radiographic finding. However, symptomatic bipartite patella is occasionally diagnosed in adolescents and young athletes. The incidence of bipartite patella has been reported at 0.2-1.7, and 1-2 % of these cases are symptomatic. The purpose of this review article was to discuss current concepts relevant to developmental anomaly of ossification type patella partita.


A PubMed database search using the key words "bipartite patella" was performed. Clinical papers reporting the bipartite patella were included. Four German-language studies were also included, three for incidence of bipartite patella and one for classification.


A new classification of developmental anomaly of ossification type patella partita based on location and number of fragment was recently proposed. It is simple and useful and applicable to all types of bipartite or tripartite patella. Several imaging studies have reportedly been used to evaluate symptomatic bipartite patella. MRI is currently the most appropriate method used to assess patients with bipartite patella. Although surgical procedures have been developed that reduce excessive traction force by the vastus lateralis muscle on the bipartite fragment, there is not sufficient evidence to support their use for routine treatment of painful bipartite patella.


In most symptomatic cases, movement at the interface between the bipartite fragment and the body of the patella presumably causes the pain. Therefore, the existence of apparent motion at the interface should be confirmed by specific imaging studies before surgery. Magnetic resonance imaging findings may provide such evidence by demonstrating a fluid bright signal across the segmentation, typical of pseudoarthrosis.



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