Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction Combined With Distal Realignment for Recurrent Dislocations of the Patella: 5-Year Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background:

Tibial tubercle transfer (TTT) and medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction have both shown, either in isolation or in combination, to provide improved patellofemoral joint (PFJ) stability. There are few studies that provide evidence that this remains true in the long term.

Purpose:

To compare the long-term results of patellar instability after TTT with and without MPFL reconstruction in 2 randomized groups.

Study Design:

Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.

Methods:

A total of 34 patients (36 knees) were randomized to 2 groups. The first group underwent lateral release (LR) and TTT for confirmed maltracking of the patella (control group). The second group underwent MPFL reconstruction in addition to TTT and LR (reconstruction group). Patients were followed up with validated questionnaires (Kujala score, Tegner activity score), a visual analog scale (VAS) assessing their insecurity, and a clinical assessment at a minimum of 5 years postoperatively. Participants also underwent quantitative computed tomography (CT) at 1 year for comparison. Two patients in the control group and 1 patient in the reconstruction group were lost to follow-up at 5 years.

Results:

There were no significant differences in the Kujala (P = .75), Tegner (P = .36), or VAS (P = .75) scores at any time period. One patient in the control group sustained a patellar redislocation at 3 years. Five patients in the control group and 2 in the reconstruction group had functional failures and required reoperations; however, this was not statistically significant (P = .30). There were no significant differences between groups in the time to return to school or work (P = .65) or sports (P = .38) after surgery. Overall patient satisfaction was higher in the reconstruction group compared with the control group (P = .04), and quantitative CT scans showed that the reconstruction group had a statistically significant improvement in the mean patellar tilt (6° vs −8°, respectively; P = .03) and mean congruence angle (13° vs −11°, respectively; P = .03) in the quadriceps-contracted state compared with the control group.

Conclusion:

Reconstruction of the MPFL in addition to TTT and LR resulted in improved alignment parameters (congruence angle, patellar tilt angle) as well as patient satisfaction. The Kujala and Tegner scores were no different between the 2 groups at any time period. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that the addition of MPFL reconstruction to TTT results in fewer redislocations or reoperations. This study concludes that MPFL reconstruction improves PFJ alignment and patient satisfaction; however, further studies with larger patient numbers are required to satisfy its significance with respect to redislocation rates and functional scores in the long term.

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