Surgery For Knee Cap Pain

Knee surgeon Perth | Orthopaedic surgeon Dr David Colvin - shoulder and knee surgery

Surgery For Knee Cap Pain

Knee cap surgeon perth

What is Surgery For Knee Cap Pain?

If your knee cap pain hasn’t been resolved with rehabilitation, your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend an operation called arthroscopic lateral release. This is keyhole surgery that cuts or ‘releases’ the tissues attached to the outer side of the patella (knee cap) called the lateral retinaculum.

Dr. David Colvin, orthopaedic surgeon in Perth. David's specialty is knee and shoulder surgery and sports injuries.

About Dr Colvin

What causes knee cap pain?

Maltracking and tilt of the patella often causes knee cap pain. The knee cap runs in a groove at the front of the knee called the trochlea. When the patella does not run centrally in the trochlear groove, it is called maltracking. A maltracking patellar tilts to the outer side of the knee. The excessive load on the outer half of the knee cap causes pain. Over time, the tissues on the outer half of the knee cap shorten and tighten. The overloaded knee cap can wear, leading to knee cap arthritis.

Without knee cap surgery, we try to stretch the lateral retinaculum that is tight, strengthen the inner quadriceps muscles (VMO), and use taping or a knee cap brace to centralise the knee cap. If this isn't successful, treatment with arthroscopic lateral release surgery may be recommended.

How is a lateral release performed?

The lateral release is performed with keyhole surgery. Arthroscopic knee surgery will achieve two things. Firstly, Dr Colvin can smooth off roughened areas of wear.

Secondly, surgery will allow release of the tight lateral retinaculum which will correct the tilt and maltracking of the knee cap. This surgery produces a correction very similar to taping or bracing of the knee cap, but does so permanently.


CO.RE Exercises

knee cap surgery | Orthopaedic Surgeon Perth WA

In the field of shoulder and knee reconstruction, successful outcomes from an operation are 50% surgery and 50% rehabilitation. You could say the surgery is the easy bit, the rehabilitation is all hard slog. Dr Colvin’s CO.RE exercise programs are just that, a core plan for your successful recovery.

Choose your program

What happens after Arthroscopic Lateral Release?

A lateral release is a more substantial operation than a routine arthroscopy. Cutting of the tissues means that there’s more bleeding, swelling and pain initially. It’s necessary to stay in hospital one night with a drain in the knee to remove blood. A brace is not needed after surgery, although you may return to using a small patellofemoral brace as soon as the swelling has resolved. Crutches may be required for one or two days but should be discarded as soon as possible.

Your sutures will be removed at the postoperative appointment with Dr Colvin’s nurse one week after surgery. At this time you will be advised on a rehabilitation program protocol and referred back to your physiotherapist. Swelling in the knee may continue for up to three months.

Need more advice about knee cap surgery?

Dr Colvin is a highly qualified and experienced orthopaedic surgeon and he can advise you on all of the non-surgical treatment options for patellofemoral pain. If you have exhausted all of those treatment options, he may recommend arthroscopic lateral release. If you have any questions about your orthopaedic surgery, please contact our Perth clinic for more information.

Sore Kneecap

A sore knee cap is a very common complaint in all age groups. One in three people experience knee cap pain at some stage. Typically this pain is experienced at the front of the knee. The knee cap, also known as the patella, with doctors referring to the type of pain as “patellofemoral pain”.
knee cap pain

Kneecap Dislocation

Knee cap dislocation occurs when the knee cap is completely displaced out of its normal position. The knee cap runs in a groove on the front of the femur, called the trochlea. When the knee cap is knocked out of this groove, a dislocated patella always goes to the outer (lateral) side of the knee.
knee cap dislocation

Treatment of Patellofemoral Pain

The patellofemoral joint refers to the kneecap and the groove it runs in at the front of the knee. The quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh connect to the top of the patella. It is then connected to the tibia by the patellar tendon. The point of attachment is a bone prominence called the tibial tuberosity.
treatment of patellofemeral pain

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Suite 213/25 McCourt St,
Subiaco WA 6008


Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5.00pm AWST

Consulting Rooms

Dr David Colvin consults at:
Western Orthopaedic Clinic

  • These rooms are part of St John of God Subiaco Hospital.
  • Parking is available on site.


Dr David Colvin operates at:
St John of God Subiaco Hospital
12 Salvado Rd,
Subiaco WA 6008