The medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL)is a part of a complex network of soft tissues responsible for stabilising the knee. The MPFL is responsible for attaching the inside part of the kneecap (patella) to the long bone in the thigh, called the femur. The femur and patella compose the patellofemoral joint.An injury to the MPFL may occur when the patella dislocates or becomes partially dislocated (subluxated) caused by trauma that is experienced during athletics or an accident as a result of naturally loose ligaments.
People who experience these injuries are said to have patella instability. MPFL reconstruction is a surgical procedure that involves the creation of a new medial patellofemoral ligament to replace the damaged ligament in order to help stabilise the knee and protect the knee joint from additional damage. MPFL reconstruction may also involve the use of a tissue graft to help reconstruct the damaged ligament.
When is an MPFL reconstruction indicated?
MPFL reconstruction is indicated for people who have had more than one patella dislocation. When a patella dislocates, soft tissues get damaged as the patella moves out of its original position and forcibly comes back into its place. When the kneecap dislocates, it dislocates towards the outside of the leg, which then results in the ligaments inside being torn.
Left untreated, an injured MPFL may heal on its own. However, the ligament may heal in a loosened, lengthened position. This may result in knee instability which makes it easier for the patella to be dislocated again in future and may damage the cartilage in the knee joint.
What does MPFL reconstruction entail?
General anaesthesia will be administered. During the procedure, Dr Nell will make small incisions on your knee to access the injured/damaged ligament. The orthopaedic surgeon will then remove the injured ligament and replace it with a portion of a tendon from your hamstring or from a donor. After the ligament has been replaced, the incisions will be closed.
Dr. Dirk Nell
Dr. Dirk Nell's Note
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