An Innovative (and Less Risky) Approach to Re-Aligning Your Patella

Have you had problems with your kneecap, stemming from an accident or sports injury? A misaligned kneecap, or patella, can cause instability in your knee and lead to repeated dislocations.

At The Institute for Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine in San Francisco, California, Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht can assess your patellar alignment and determine if you could be a candidate for his innovative, minimally invasive arthroscopic approach to patella realignment.

Dislocations of the patella

Commonly known as your kneecap, the patella is the hard cap of bone that protects the front of your knee joint. As you bend and stretch your knee joint, the patella rides along a groove in your femur. If you have a shallow groove, an impact can cause your patella to “jump the track.” 

Even a partial dislocation (sublaxation) can put you at risk for repeated knee issues later in life. A single dislocation or sublaxation increases your chances of a second by 20% to 40%, and a second incident boosts your likelihood of yet more injuries by up to 50%. 

Patellar misalignment

When your patella is relocated, it may not fit perfectly back into the track. The tendon or ligaments in the knee joint may be stretched or damaged, causing the patella to sit at an angle or to slide around. This can cause compression and pain in the knee.

A misaligned patella can also lead to an unstable kneecap, which might cause your leg to collapse from under you without warning. Chronic knee instability may or may not be accompanied by pain.

Patellar realignment

The traditional route for patellar realignment was open knee surgery. This has a long recovery time, and in some cases, the surgery has to be repeated. Dr. Halbrecht pioneered a new, innovative, and minimally invasive method known as the “Arthroscopic All-Inside” patella realignment in 2015.

Using this method, the patella can be properly realigned through a tiny arthroscopic opening.  A subluxated knee cap can be manipulated back into place and then held there either by heating the stretched ligament to shrink it, or with small sutures placed from inside the knee joint. All work is done using a very small camera and tools inserted into the knee. 

According to Dr. Halbrecht, the success rate with this type of arthroscopic knee surgery is extremely high. The risk of infection is lower since the knee isn’t opened, and the surgery causes less trauma to the various tissues in the area. 

If you suffer from knee instability, request an appointment at our office by calling 415-233-7996, or schedule online with our convenient booking system.

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