MPFL Reconstruction

Two knee reconstruction procedures are used for a dislocating patella. The first is Tibial Tubercle Transfer (TTT) and the second is Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction (MPFL). The knee cap or patella acts as a pulley at the front of the knee. It allows the large quadriceps muscles of your thigh to pull across the front of the knee acting on the patellar tendon to straighten the knee. The patellar sits in a groove at the front of the femur (thigh bone) called a trochlea groove. With a direct blow or a twisting injury, the patella can be dislocated out of its groove onto the outside of the knee joint.

mpfl reconstruction

How does the MPFL tear?

Here in Perth, playing netball would be one of the most frequent causes of a dislocated patella. When the patella is forced to the outside of the knee joint, everything that is attached to the inner half of the knee cap is torn or damaged. The muscle here is the VMO which is the inner quadriceps muscle.

The ligament attaching to the inner half of the knee cap is the medial patellofemoral ligament. It is one of the major structures which keeps the knee cap centralised in its groove. Patella dislocation tears the MPFL and sprains the VMO muscle.

Shoulder & Knee Surgery Perth

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What happens during the MPFL reconstruction?

To perform this reconstructive knee surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will make a new ligament to replace the torn MPFL. He can use a graft tendon from your body such as a hamstring tendon or part of the quadriceps tendon, or an artificial ligament called the LARS graft. Holes are drilled in the femur, and the inner edge of the patella and the new ligament is secured in these holes with screws.

MPFL reconstruction is sometimes combined with Tibial Tubercle Transfer surgery (TTT).

mpfl reconstruction

Rehabilitation after MPFL reconstruction surgery.

Crutches are required for one week. A full-length knee brace is used for the first three weeks. A smaller patellofemoral brace should be used after that. Rehabilitation exercises will commence during your hospital stay and will continue under the supervision of Dr Colvin and your physiotherapist.

Is MPFL reconstruction an option for you?

If you are experiencing recurrent patella dislocation, then the chance of further damage to your knee cap is high. MPFL reconstruction can stabilise your dislocating patella and allow a return to normal activities and sport. If you think you might benefit from MPFL reconstruction surgery, call to make an appointment with your orthopaedic surgeon at our Perth practice to discuss your options.

CO.RE Exercises

mpfl reconstruction

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.

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Kneecap Dislocation

Kneecap dislocation occurs when the kneecap is completely displaced out of its normal position. The kneecap runs in a groove on the front of the femur, called the trochlea. When the kneecap is knocked out of this groove, a dislocated patella always goes to the outer side of the knee. As a result, the muscles on the inner side of the knee are damaged and the ligaments can be torn or stretched.
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Knee Cartilage

Cartilage is one of the body’s building blocks. It is a structural component for firm but elastic tissues. Two different structures in the knee are made from cartilage. This leads to a great deal of confusion.
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Articular cartilage is the smooth surface lining found in all joints. It is remarkably similar to the layer of teflon on a non stick frying pan. It is approximately 2 to 3mm thick, just like a layer of teflon. Articular cartilage can be damaged by injury or by wear and tear and takes on an appearance not unlike the surface of an old teflon frying pan. This wear and tear process occurs in all joints. When it becomes severe it is called osteoarthritis.
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David Colvin


Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5.00pm AWST

Consulting Rooms

Dr David Colvin consults at:
Western Orthopaedic Clinic
Suite 213, 25 McCourt Street,
Subiaco WA 6008 (Perth)

  • 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 Salvado Road, Subiaco WA 6008 (Perth)