Introduction: Pathologic anatomy is a primary factor contributing to re-dislocation of the patella following reconstruction of the medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL). A pivot landing was simulated following MPFL reconstruction, with the hypothesis that position of the tibial tuberosity, depth of the trochlear groove, and height of the patella are correlated with lateral patellar maltracking.

Methods: Thirteen dynamic simulation models represented subjects being treated for recurrent patellar instability. Simplified Hertzian contact governed patellofemoral and tibiofemoral joint reaction forces. Pivot landing was represented with and without an MPFL graft in place. Measurements related to patellar height (Caton-Deschamps index), trochlear groove depth (lateral trochlear inclination), and position of the tibial tuberosity (lateral tibial tuberosity to posterior cruciate attachment distance, or lateral TT-PCL distance) were measured from the models and correlated with patellar lateral shift with the knee extended (5° of flexion) and flexed (40°).

Results: The patella dislocated for all models without an MPFL graft and for two models with a graft represented. With an MPFL graft represented, patellar lateral shift was correlated with Caton-Deschamps index (r2 > 0.35, p < 0.03) and lateral trochlear inclination (r2 = 0.45, p < 0.02) at both 5° and 40° of flexion.

Discussion: For a simulated pivot landing with an MPFL graft in place, lateral patellar tracking was associated with a high patella (alta) and shallow trochlear groove. The study emphasizes the importance of simulating activities that place the patella at risk of dislocation when evaluating patellar stability.

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