Repair of Patella Tendon

Repair of Patella Tendon

Patrick Horrigan

Michael Bellino

Julius Bishop


  • The patellar tendon is a continuation of the quadriceps tendon, a confluence of the vastus medialis, intermedius, and lateralis tendons and the rectus femoris tendon. It is derived primarily from extending fibers of rectus femoris traversing the anterior surface of the patella.

  • The tendon itself consists of 90% type I collagen. Its fibers are arranged longitudinally relative to the axis of the lower extremity.

    • It measures approximately 32 mm in width and narrows by several millimeters near its insertion on the tibial tubercle.

    • Its thickness in normal knees is approximately 6 mm at its proximal extent and 6 mm distally.2,3

  • The blood supply of the patellar tendon is derived from the inferior genicular arteries proximally and from the anterior tibial recurrent artery distally. It shares a portion of its blood supply posteriorly with the infrapatellar fat pad.3,4


  • Because degenerative changes are present in most cases, tendinopathy is increasingly given the primary pathogenic role in rupture.5

  • Rupture can also occur in the setting of direct trauma, recent corticosteroid injections for tendonitis, and systemic disease (patients with chronic acidosis or nephropathy requiring hemodialysis, systemic lupus erythematosus).6

  • A classic described mechanism is forceful contraction of the quadriceps musculature with the knee in greater than 45 degrees of flexion.7


  • Patients will typically describe an acute popping or tearing sensation during a brief period of forceful quadriceps contraction. This is often followed by acute-onset knee pain, swelling, and inability to bear weight.

  • A palpable infrapatellar defect around a swollen joint can sometimes be appreciated on the symptomatic knee.


  • Plain anteroposterior and lateral radiographs of the knee are usually sufficient for diagnosis of patella tendon rupture (FIG 1).7

  • In cases of uncertain physical examination, MRI or ultrasonography may be useful for confirmation of diagnosis.


  • Management of patellar tendon ruptures in medically stable adults is surgical. Nonoperative treatment predictably results in tendon retraction and loss of active knee extension strength and extensor lag.7


Nov 24, 2019 | Posted by in Aesthetic plastic surgery | Comments Off on Repair of Patella Tendon
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