The surgical reattachment of the patella tendon to the bottom of the kneecap.
The patella tendon is a large tendon that attaches to the bottom of the kneecap (patella) and the top of the shinbone (tibia); it works with the muscles and other tendons in the front of the thigh to straighten your leg. A tear to this large tendon can be debilitating, rendering you unable to walk or straighten your leg. Very small partial patella tendon 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 kneecap. Timing is also important, as people tend to do better if the repair is performed soon after the initial injury. The repair is done by using very strong sutures through the tendon and threading these sutures through a series of holes in the kneecap, subsequently securing the tendon back to the kneecap. Immobilization of the knee in either a brace or a cast and weight bearing restriction are put in place for an extended period of time post-operatively to allow the tendon repair to heal. With time, your surgeon and physical therapist will begin a gradual increase in flexion of the knee and weight bearing restriction. This is a step-wise process, and recovery time for this type of injury can take approximately six months — potentially more for severe tendon injuries — to regain normal function and mobility.
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.