When a patient dislocates their kneecap, tissues on the inside aspect of the knee tear allowing the kneecap (or patella) to dislocate to the outside. The Medial Patellofemoral Ligament, also known as the MPFL, is the main soft tissue restraint to dislocation of the patella. It is torn when dislocation occurs. Sometimes the MPFL heals well enough that dislocation does not occur again, but 50% of the time or more, the MPFL does not heal sufficiently so dislocation recurs. For the patient that continues to have dislocation episodes surgery is usually considered in the form of MPFL Reconstruction. Reconstructing the MPFL restores the tether to keep the patella in its groove when it might dislocate.
Dr. Steensen developed a technique to reconstruct the MPFL that uses a part of the quadriceps tendon to take the place of the injured ligament. A portion of the quadriceps tendon is kept attached to the patella and re-routed to the inside aspect of the femur (thigh bone). This lays over the same position as the original MPFL so it will replicate its function.
It is typically an outpatient procedure and one can put weight on the leg immediately. A knee immobilizer and crutches are used for a few weeks. Strengthening takes a few months before one can return to sports.