Case report| Volume 21, ISSUE 8, P1006.e1-1006.e3, August 2005

Arthroscopic Excision of a Painful Bipartite Patella Fragment


      Bipartite patella, although usually asymptomatic, can become a source of persistent pain following injury. When nonoperative treatments such as physiotherapy and rest fail to produce any resolution in the symptoms, surgery is usually performed. This may include excision of the painful fragment, lateral retinacular release, or detachment of the vastus lateralis insertion, generally performed as open surgical procedures. In the case of vastus lateralis release, however, there has been recent report of statistically better results using an arthroscopic technique. Furthermore, open partial patellectomy has been criticized as being invasive and at times requiring long postoperative rehabilitation. We describe the case of a 26-year-old man who presented with a painful bipartite patella fragment that had not responded symptomatically to nonsurgical treatment. The painful fragment was removed arthroscopically as a day case under a general anesthetic. This was carried out through 3 portals and involved the use of a combination of probe, periosteal elevator, and arthroscopic shaver. Using this technique, we were able to minimize the surgical trauma associated with an open surgical procedure. The early result of this case encourages the use of an arthroscopic technique for partial patellectomy in the surgical treatment of a bipartite patella.

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