Superior Outcomes After Operative Fixation of Patella Fractures Using a Novel Plating Technique: A Prospective Cohort Study

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The purpose of this prospective cohort study was to determine if a new patella fracture fixation construct resulted in improved outcomes compared with traditional tension band techniques.


Comparative cohort study.


Academic level I trauma center.


Patients with isolated, unilateral patellar fractures were enrolled prospectively. From 2012 to 2014, 33 patients underwent fixation with a novel plate construct that spans half of the patella circumference laterally and provides multiplanar fixation through a low-profile plate. A comparison cohort was drawn from 25 patients treated from 2008 to 2012, where treatment consisted of traditional tension band fixation techniques.


Surgical fixation of patella fractures was performed with either a tension band or novel plate construct.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Subjective postoperative clinical outcomes and objective functional and strength measurements were subsequently collected.


The 2 cohorts had similar baseline characteristics. Patients with the plate construct had clinically and statistically significantly superior Knee Outcome Survey Activities of Daily Living Scale (KOS-ADLS) scores throughout the study period (P < 0.001). Functional testing also demonstrated significant improvements in patients with plate constructs compared with tension band constructs at 12 months. Patients in the plate cohort had significantly increased thigh circumferences (P = 0.003) and decreased anterior knee pain (P < 0.0001) compared with the tension band cohort.


In this prospective cohort study, the use of a novel fixation construct with multiplanar and interfragmentary fixation and minimal disruption of patellar vascularity enables improved clinical outcomes and functional performance.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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