Original Article| Volume 38, ISSUE 8, P2472-2479, August 2022

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High Rates of Damage to the Medial Patellofemoral Ligament, Lateral Trochlea, and Patellar Crest After Acute Patellar Dislocation: Magnetic Resonance Imaging Analysis

Published:February 11, 2022DOI:


      The primary outcome of interest of this study was to determine the frequency, location, and extent of chondral injuries and medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) tears, along with the rate of loose bodies, in the knee after acute primary patellar dislocation. The secondary outcome of interest was to conduct a multivariate analysis to investigate whether the presence of pathoanatomic abnormalities, including structural differences in the knees of the patients, is associated with the features of the lesions.


      Patients who underwent magnetic resonance imaging after primary acute patellar dislocation were identified from our institutional databases. We analyzed a total of 175 magnetic resonance imaging scans of patients aged between 14 and 25 years who were eligible for inclusion.


      Chondral damage to the medial facet of the patella was present in 36 patients; patellar crest, 78 patients; and lateral patellar facet, 28 patients. One patient presented with chondral defects in the medial trochlear facet, whereas 118 patients showed chondral defects in the lateral trochlear facet. Loose bodies were present in 142 patients. A total of 161 patients (92%) showed MPFL damage. The patellar portion was affected in 119 patients. Of the patients, 28 showed a partially damaged MPFL (<50%), 42 showed MPFL damage greater than 50%, and 49 presented with a complete tear of the MPFL. MPFL lesions were observed on the femoral side in 42 patients. Fourteen patients presented with an avulsion fracture on the patellar side; 28 patients, on the femoral side.


      The MPFL was injured in 92% of 175 patients after a first-time acute patellar dislocation. Chondral damage was most frequent at the patellar crest, followed by the lateral femoral epicondyle. No association was found between patella alta, the sulcus angle, the Q angle, the tibial tubercle–trochlear groove distance, trochlear and patellar dysplasia, and soft-tissue damage.

      Level of Evidence

      Level IV, retrospective cohort study.
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