Outcomes of surgical treatment of symptomatic bipartite patella in teenage athletes

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Bipartite patella affects about 2% of people. Most cases are asymptomatic; however, some develop anterior knee pain during sports. When conservative treatment fails, surgery can be considered. This study reports the outcomes of fragment excision with or without lateral release in teenage athletes with symptomatic bipartite patella. The study was approved by the College of Medicine Institutional Review Board. A retrospective review was performed. Patients were excluded if age >18 or had prior knee surgery. Data collected included age, gender, BMI, sports played, Saupe classification, conservative and surgical treatment, advanced imaging used, duration of follow-up, Lysholm Score and postoperative complications. Five teenage patients were studied. The average age was 15.6 years and BMI was 23. Sports played included basketball, football, track-and-field and soccer. All patients complained of anterior knee pain exacerbated by sports. All patients failed >6 months of conservative treatment. Saupe classification included four type III (superolateral) and one type II (lateral). Two patients had an MRI. Surgical treatment included two open excisions and three arthroscopic-assisted open excisions with lateral releases. The average Lysholm Score was 97. Postoperatively, all patients returned to presurgery sporting activity at an average of 9.8 weeks (range, 6-13 weeks). A 16-year-old male treated by open excision developed a postoperative wound infection. He was successfully treated with irrigation & debridement and antibiotics and returned to sports at 6 weeks. Symptomatic bipartite patella is an uncommon cause of anterior knee pain in adolescent athletes. When pain persists despite conservative care, fragment excision with or without lateral release resulted in excellent pain relief and return to full sporting activity in all cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-375
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics Part B
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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