Quadricep Tendon Repair

The surgical reattachment of the quadricep tendon, the large tendon that attaches the four quadricep muscles in the thigh to the top of the kneecap.

Quadricep Tendon Repair

The quadricep tendon is a large tendon that attaches the four quadricep muscles in the thigh to the top of the kneecap (patella). An injury to this large tendon will leave you unable to straighten your leg at the knee, making it very difficult to walk. Classifying the extent of the tear is an important step when diagnosing this particular injury. A partial tear means that there are some fibers still connected to their points of origin. A complete tear, or rupture, of the quadricep tendon is a disabling injury where the tendon is split into two pieces. A thorough physical exam is often all that is necessary to make this diagnosis, however your doctor may order an x-ray to observe the location of the patella or an MRI to evaluate the extent of the tear directly. Very small partial tears are good candidates for a nonsurgical treatment approach. This is accomplished by a period of immobilization, to allow the tendon to heal, followed by a period of physical therapy to restore strength and range of motion of the knee. If the partial tear is large or the tendon is completely ruptured, surgery is necessary to reattach the torn tendon to the top of the kneecap. This procedure can be performed in either an ambulatory surgery center or a hospital setting and should be scheduled as close to the initial injury as possible. Your surgeon will locate the torn tendon and place a row of very strong suturing material at the torn end. The sutures are then threaded through a series of holes drilling through the kneecap where the tendon is reattached. Patients who undergo this surgical treatment can expect a period of immobilization in either a brace or cast to prevent the knee from bending. After some time, your surgeon and physical therapist will begin a gradual exercise program slowly allowing for more flexion in the knee. Eventually, strength training exercises will be added to the physical therapy program to strengthen the quadricep muscles. Recovery time for this type of injury can take approximately six months, and up to one year for more severe injuries, before patients regain full function and mobility of the affected leg.

Personalized care

As our patient, you will have an in-depth consultation with one of our doctors. We will create an individualized treatment plan together, tailored to your problem and lifestyle. Our doctors prefer non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy and/or injections. If your problem ultimately does require surgery, our doctors prefer the least invasive surgical techniques possible. Our goals are the same as yours: to get you back to living your best life, pain free. 

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