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Your patella (or kneecap) sits in a groove at the end of your thighbone protecting your knee joint. It moves within the groove allowing the up and down motion required to bend your knee.

If wear and tear or an injury causes the patella to move out of the groove from side to side (dislocate) the result can be very painful and have major impact to your mobility.

Before proceeding with any treatment your consultant will need to assess the cause of your patella dislocation. They may order an x-ray or MRI scan. If this is the first time you have experienced a dislocation your consultant may recommend physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles around your knee joint or a brace to help hold the joint in place.

Unfortunately many patella dislocations reoccur. If you continue to experience this your consultant may recommend surgery.

What happens during patella stabilisation?

Patella stabilisation is usually performed under general anaesthetic. The type of surgery performed will depend on your individual situation. Sometimes torn ligaments are repaired. In other cases a tendon may be repositioned to stop the patella from being pulled sideways. Most patella stabilisation procedures can be performed arthroscopically.

Your length of hospital stay will depend on what procedure is performed. Be sure and discuss what method will be used with your consultant.

After patella stabilisation

Please arrange for someone to drive you home following your surgery. You will not be able to drive until you can confidently perform an emergency stop (4-6 weeks).

Depending on your procedure you may go home using crutches or a walker. You may not be allowed to put full weight on your operated side for several weeks. Take any pain relief medication as prescribed. Icing and elevating your leg may help control swelling and stiffness. 

Your consultant may prescribe physiotherapy to help you regain strength and mobility. You will need a series of follow-up appointments to assess your progress.

Most people make a full recovery following patella stabilisation. As with any surgical procedure there could be complications such as:

Specific complications may include:

  • Continued stiffness
  • Recurrent dislocation

Why not print this treatment page so you can discussion any concerns with your consultant?

Find your nearest hospital

67 Lansdowne Road

01202 291866

4 Trumpington Road

01223 303336

Cardiff Bay Hospital
Dunleavey Drive
CF11 0SN

02920 836714

78 Broyle Road
PO19 6WB

01243 530600

Foxhall Road

01473 279100

Clayton Road

0191 281 6131

Winchester Road
Chandlers Ford
SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Call us 0845 602 9262

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