The Medial Patello-Femoral Ligament, also called MPFL, is part of the complex network of tissues that provide stability to the knee. It connects the inside aspect of the kneecap (Patella) to the thigh bone (Femur). MPFL prevents the lateral (outward) displacement of the kneecap (Patella) and helps keep it in position during the bending and straightening of the knee.
MPFL is torn when there is an injury to the knee, causing instability to the kneecap. The patella can also be dislocated from an accident or from a trauma to the knee during any sport related activity.
If the MPFL is injured or torn, the patella is free from any restraint and it jumps out of the groove in the thigh bone. The injury can be treated quickly without surgery by applying plaster, right after the accident. However, repeated injuries and instances of instability might need the help of surgical interventions to heal.
If left untreated, MPFL will heal in a looser and lengthened position that makes it vulnerable for dislocations and damage the knee’s cartilage. The MPFL tear is characterized by pain, swelling and disability due to dislocation. If the cartilage is damaged, then there is a chance for knee cap Arthritis.
The repeated kneecap instability caused by MPFL tear can be treated by surgical procedure called the MPFL Reconstruction and it ensures good results. The surgeon normally takes around an hour to perform the surgery and the patient can return home the next day with their knee in a brace. The patients can return back to their normal activities within 3 to 6 weeks after the surgery.
The procedure includes arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgery. The torn tissue in the joint is cleaned up then a lateral release is performed where the ligament on the outside of the kneecap joint is loosened. In some cases, a procedure called medial imbrication is performed, where the MPFL is tightened.
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