Differential Contributions of the Quadriceps and Patellar Attachments of the Proximal Medial Patellar Restraints to Resisting Lateral Patellar Translation

Published:February 13, 2020DOI:


      To define the contributions of the of the medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) and medial quadriceps tendon femoral ligament (MQTFL) to lateral patellar translation as the knee moves through a 90° arc of motion.


      Six pairs of bilateral cadaveric knee specimens (12 knees) were dissected and potted in perfect lateral position using fluoroscopy. An eye screw was placed in the midpoint on the lateral aspect of the patella. Each knee underwent testing in 4 conditions after sequential sectioning: intact, lateral retinacular release, randomized MQTFL or MPFL sectioning, and complete proximal medial patellar restraint (PMPR) sectioning. With a custom machined jig, all knees were tested at 0, 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, and 90° of flexion on an MTS machine with 20N of lateral patellar force applied and displacement recorded.


      PMPR extensor mechanism insertion on all specimens was identified 50% on the quadriceps tendon and 50% on the proximal aspect of the medial patella. Isolated MPFL sectioning resulted in significantly increased lateral displacement compared to the lateral release state at all flexion angles tested except 0°. There was significantly increased lateral patellar displacement with complete sectioning compared with isolated proximal sectioning at all degrees of knee flexion except 0°. However, complete sectioning following isolated MPFL sectioning did not demonstrate significance at any angle.


      Compared with the MQTFL, the MPFL is primarily responsible for resistance to lateral patellar translation throughout a 0° to 90° arc of motion. The MPFL provides a similar resistance to lateral patellar displacement as the fully intact PMPR; however, the MQTFL may contribute to resistance in full extension.

      Clinical Significance

      Proximal medial patellar restraint reconstruction techniques involving both the patellar and quadriceps insertion have been described; however, the unique contributions of the native anatomy to lateral patellar restraint have not been investigated.
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