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Patella Instability Program

Patella instability causes a variety of problems ranging from mild shifting or clicking of the patella (kneecap) to frank patella dislocation, chronic disability, trouble with stairs, inability to run, giving way of the knee, complete collapse of the knee, chronic pain, and accelerated arthritis of the knee. Fortunately, many patients with patella instability respond to nonsurgical treatments such as bracing, taping, modification of activities, and physical therapy.

The Sports Medicine Division of Yale Medicine Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation provides specialized care for adults and children with patella instability. While nonsurgical options are almost always the first-step recommendation, Yale Medicine’s Patella Instability Program offers the best possible current technology and expertise to enable patients to have a successful return to normal activities.

To find out more about this program, please fill out a brief survey

Our Approach

The Patella Instability Program utilizes the highest quality advanced imaging, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT), for patient evaluation, in collaboration with Yale Medicine’s Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging. Our Orthopaedic specialists work with the Radiology departments and the Yale School of Engineering to offer a major initiative in three-dimensional (3-D) imaging and printing, such that a patient’s knee can, in certain complex situations, be printed into a 3-D model for detailed analysis and optimal surgical planning.

3-D analysis is particularly important for patients with trochlea dysplasia, a condition in which the femur’s groove for the patella is too shallow and deformed, worsening the patient’s symptoms of patella instability and recurrent dislocation of the patella. Yale Medicine Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation’s Division of Sports Medicine is actively researching the complexities of patellofemoral dysplasia in order to offer every patient the best possible outcome. Our program is also engaged in national and international education of orthopedic surgeons and other care providers about optimal treatment of patella instability patients.

Our Services

When surgery becomes necessary for patients with patella instability, Yale Medicine’s Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Sports Medicine division offers extensive expertise and long experience. The goal is to minimize surgery whenever possible, but also to recognize when more definitive surgical treatment is necessary.

Our surgeons offer over 50 years of cumulative experience with tibial tubercle transfer (TTO or AMZ) and medial stabilization (MPFL or MQTFL) surgery and can manage most patients with these procedures on an outpatient basis at the McGivney Surgery Center, and Greenwich Hospital.

The facilities at the McGivney Advanced Surgery Center in New Haven and Greenwich Hospital allow our surgeons to provide state-of-the-art, cutting-edge surgical treatments in order to give patients the best potential for maximal recovery.

After surgery, our team also works closely with affiliated physical therapists who are well-versed in managing patients in their recovery phase of healing. This collaboration ensures individualized treatment plans, aimed to optimize recovery and a return to function.

Our program works closely with the Patellofemoral Foundation. More information on patella instability and patellofemoral problems in general may be found on their website: