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Combined Reconstruction of the Medial Patellofemoral Ligament (MPFL) and Medial Quadriceps Tendon-Femoral Ligament (MQTFL) for Patellar Instability in Children and Adolescents

Surgical Technique and Outcomes

Spang, Robert C. MD*; Tepolt, Frances A. MD; Paschos, Nikolaos K. MD, PhD; Redler, Lauren H. MD; Davis, Eric A. BS; Kocher, Mininder S. MD, MPH†,‡

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: January 2019 - Volume 39 - Issue 1 - p e54–e61
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000001259

Objectives: A variety of surgical options exist to treat the challenging problem of recurrent patellar instability in children and adolescents. The goal of the current study is to describe a novel combined reconstruction technique of both the medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) and the medial quadriceps tendon-femoral ligament (MQTFL) and report patient outcomes of a single-surgeon series.

Methods: All patients studied underwent simultaneous MPFL and MQTFL reconstruction for patellar instability using gracilis allograft. Demographic, clinical, and radiographic data were collected. Subjective outcomes were assessed for a minimum of 1 year postoperatively.

Results: Twenty-five patients (27 knees), including 15 female and 10 male individuals with an average age of 15.0±2.2 years (range, 10.3 to 18.9), were included. Prior ipsilateral patellofemoral surgery had been performed in 6 of 25 (24%) patients. Simultaneous hemiepiphysiodesis for valgus deformity at the time of combined reconstruction was performed in 5 of 25 (20%) patients. Preoperative imaging showed a mean tibial tubercle-trochlear groove of 17.2±3.8, Caton-Deschamps Index (CDI) of 1.13±0.16, and trochlear dysplasia Dejour A/B [22/26 (85%)] or Dejour C/D [4/26 (15%)]. A total of 18 patients (19 knees, 72%) returned outcomes questionnaires at a mean 2.0±0.5 years after surgery. Mean Kujala, Pedi-IKDC, and Lysholm scores were 85.9±13.9, 81.5±15.2, and 84.3±13.5, respectively. Later revision procedure (tibial tubercle osteotomy) for recurrent patellar instability was required in 2 of 25 patients (8%) patients, and another patient reported persistent instability not requiring revision. Return to sports was possible in 10 of 13 self-reported athletes (77%) at a mean of 5.8±3.9 months (range, 2 to 15).

Conclusions: The present study describes a combined MPFL-MQTFL reconstruction technique with favorable short-term results. Although particularly useful in the skeletally immature patient where tibial tubercle osteotomy should be avoided and patellar fixation minimized, combined reconstruction may potentially be appropriate for older patients with patellofemoral instability as well. This technique more closely recreates the native anatomy of both the MPFL and MQTFL, may decrease the risk of patellar fracture, and can be useful in the revision setting.

Level of Evidence: Level IV.

*Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Division of Sports Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

None of the authors received any external financial support.

The study was approved by the Boston Children’s Hospital Institutional Review Board (IRB-P00021504).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Mininder S. Kocher, MD, MPH, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Hunnewell 2, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail:

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