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Patellofemoral Instability in Athletes: Treatment via Modified Fulkerson Osteotomy and Lateral Release

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source: American Journal of Sports Medicine

year: 2010

authors: Tjoumakaris FP, Forsythe B, Bradley JP


Surgical treatment of patellofemoral instability can successfully diminish episodes of subluxation and dislocation, as well as symptoms of pain and instability.

Surgical treatment of lateral patellar instability in a strictly athletic population will facilitate return to sports.

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

From 1999 to 2004, 41 Fulkerson osteotomies combined with an arthroscopic lateral release were performed in 34 athletes for patellofemoral instability. Three patients were lost to follow-up. All patients participated in sports at least 3 times per week in at least one sport for 4 months of the year. There were 4 male and 30 female patients; 7 patients underwent bilateral, staged procedures. There were 14 high school, 12 collegiate, and 8 recreational athletes. Results were obtained by an independent examiner.

The mean age was 20.05 years (range, 14-54 years) with a mean follow-up of 46 months (range, 22-71 months). Patients averaged 1.3 dislocations before reconstruction (range, 0-6). The average Lysholm score was 91.8 (range, 67-100) at follow-up. The International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) scores were A (normal) in 27 knees, B (near normal) in 12, and C (abnormal) in 2. Seventeen patients had symptomatic hardware removed at an average of 8 months. There were 2 complications: one saphenous neuroma that resolved, and one recurrent dislocation in a patient later diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

This series is the largest to date documenting the successful treatment of patellofemoral instability in athletes with concomitant Fulkerson osteotomy and arthroscopic lateral release. Forty-nine percent of patients in our series required removal of screws from the osteotomy site.

organization: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Sports Medicine

DOI: 10.1177/0363546509357682

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