Predictors of Recurrent Patellar Instability in Children and Adolescents following First-Time Dislocation


      The purpose of the study was to examine risk factors in patients with first-time patellofemoral dislocations to develop a prediction model of recurrence.


      A single institution retrospective review of all patients with a first-time patellofemoral dislocation from 2002 – 2013 was performed. Demographic risk factors (age, gender, laterality, mechanism of injury, and history of contralateral patellar dislocation) and radiographic risk factors (increased patella height, trochlear dysplasia, and skeletal immaturity) were examined. Patella height was measured using Caton-Deschamps index. Trochlear dysplasia was assessed using the two-grade Dejour classification and skeletal immaturity was assessed based on the distal femur and proximal tibia physis (open, closing, or closed).


      266 knees in 250 patients were included in the study. Of these, 222 (83.5%) were treated nonoperatively and 44 (16.5%) were treated surgically. Of the knees treated nonoperatively, 77 (34.7%) had a recurrence. Significant risk factors for recurrence on univariate analysis were age ≤ 14 years, history of contralateral patellar dislocation, trochlear dysplasia, skeletal immaturity, and a Caton-Deschamps index > 1.45. Multivariate analysis was performed and trochlear dysplasia and skeletal immaturity were the most significant factors with odds ratios of 3.56 and 2.23 respectively. The presence of all four multivariate risk factors (CDI > 1.45, history of contralateral patellar dislocation, trochlear dysplasia, and skeletal immaturity) had a predicted risk of recurrence of 88%. The presence of any three risk factors had a predicted risk of about 75% and the presence of any two risk factors had a predicted risk of about 55%.


      Trochlear dysplasia, skeletal immaturity, CDI > 1.45, and a history of contralateral patellar dislocation were all significant risk factors for recurrence in patients with first-time patellar dislocations. A predictive model for calculation of recurrence risk was developed. This information is useful when counseling patients and their families following first-time patellar dislocation about prognosis.