Dislocation of the kneecap (patella) is a common injury. People who have this problem fall into two different groups: those who have a single dislocation due to an injury and those who have repeat or recurrent dislocations spontaneously or with very minimal injury.
Someone who has a first time dislocation as a result of an injury usually can be treated initially with bracing and physiotherapy and in the majority of cases will not have any further problems or dislocations. Sometimes the dislocation can cause a piece of cartilage to be knocked loose in the knee and this can require surgery.
In the case of recurrent dislocations with minimal trauma, surgery may be needed to prevent the kneecap from dislocating again. There are a number of different problems in the knee that can cause the kneecap to dislocate easily and therefore there are several different operations available or a combination of these that might be required.
A special series of X-rays and CT scans are used to determine which operation or combination of operations is appropriate in any individual case.