Medial Patellofemoral Ligament (MPFL) Reconstruction

The medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) is an important stabilizer of the patella. In addition to the trochlea, it helps to prevent the kneecap from dislocating.

The MPFL can be damaged when the kneecap dislocates repeatedly. When this occurs and physical therapy fails to appropriately stabilize the kneecap, surgery may be needed. While there is almost always some underlying anatomic risk factor, trochlear dysplasia for example, that causes the kneecap to dislocate and thus damage the MPFL, sometimes these anatomic abnormalities are mild enough that they don’t require surgical correction. Instead, increasing the strength of the MPFL via a MPFL reconstruction is sufficient to overcome the underlying anatomic difference(s) and regain stability to the kneecap.

In a MPFL reconstruction, Dr. Pace will add tissue to the native MPFL via a tendon graft. Unless there is a personal preference, this graft is routinely from a donor, also known as an allograft. A lateral retinacular lengthening is also routinely performed. This ensures that the ligaments on both sides of the kneecap are evenly balanced. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis and immediate weightbearing and full range of motion is allowed afterward. Based on rehabilitation efforts, return to most sports can occur within 3 months after surgery.

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