Medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction is a surgical procedure performed to address instability and recurrent dislocation of the patella (kneecap). The MPFL is a crucial ligament that helps stabilize the patella and prevent it from dislocating laterally (toward the outside of the knee). When this ligament is damaged or stretched, it can lead to recurrent patellar dislocations.
The surgery involves reconstructing the MPFL using a graft, typically harvested from the patient’s own body (autograft) , from a donor (allograft) or an artificial graft. The most common autograft options are the gracilis or semitendinosus tendons, which are located in the hamstring muscles. The choice of graft depends on the patient’s anatomy, surgeon’s preference, and the patient’s activity level.
Here’s a general overview of the surgical procedure:
- The patient is typically placed under general anesthesia.
- The graft is positioned to mimic the natural course of the MPFL and is fixed at both ends to stabilize the patella’s tracking.
- After the surgery, patients are typically required to wear a knee brace to protect the reconstructed ligament and limit movement. Physical therapy is an essential part of the recovery process and aims to regain strength, flexibility, and stability in the knee.
It’s important to note that while MPFL reconstruction can be effective in stabilizing the patella and reducing the risk of recurrent dislocations, the success of the procedure depends on various factors, including the patient’s individual anatomy, the surgeons skill and the post-operative rehabilitation process.
Recovery times can vary, but most patients can expect to gradually return to their normal activities over a period of several months. As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications, which should be discussed with the surgeon before making a decision.