Soft Tissue Masses of the Knee Related to a Focal Defect of the Lateral Patellar Retinaculum

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Abstract

We report on the imaging features of 6 soft tissue masses in the anterolateral aspect of the knee related to a focal defect of the lateral patellar retinaculum. In 4 patients (3 female and 1 male; 6–65 years) presenting with nontender palpable soft tissue masses in the anterolateral aspect of their knees, ultrasonography showed a focal defect of the lateral patellar retinaculum with herniation of the Hoffa fat pad, which was only visible in flexion. A magnetic resonance imaging examination performed in 1 case confirmed the defect in the lateral patellar retinaculum but did not show a mass, as the knee was examined only at 10° of flexion. The 2 remaining patients (one male and 1 female; 62 and 55 years) presented with soft tissue masses in their anterolateral knees in both flexion and extension. These masses were related respectively to a lipoma of the Hoffa fat pad and to a ganglion cyst, both herniated through a defect of the lateral patellar retinaculum. Our cases suggest that a focal defect of the lateral patellar retinaculum may be a route for Hoffa fat pad herniation as well as a route for superficial extension of infrapatellar fat lesions such as lipomas and ganglion cysts.

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