Patellar Stabilization Specialist

David Lintner, MD

Sports Medicine Physicians & Orthopedic Surgeons located in Houston, TX & Baytown, TX

Patellar stabilization may prevent recurrent kneecap dislocations from damaging the underlying cartilage. Board-certified orthopedic sports medicine specialist David Lintner, MD, performs patellar stabilization at his offices in Houston and Baytown, Texas. If you have an unstable kneecap, call the nearest office or book an appointment online today to find out if patellar stabilization is right for you.

Patellar Stabilization Q&A

What is patellar instability?

Your patella (kneecap) slides up and down along a groove in your femur as you bend and straighten your knee. Patellar instability is when the kneecap slips outside this groove. 

The patella gets pushed completely out of the groove when you dislocate your kneecap. After you dislocate your knee once, the risk of chronic patellar instability increases. Chronic patellar instability usually only causes your kneecap to move partly out of the groove. 

Patellar instability may cause a host of symptoms, including knee pain, stiffness, swelling, and a catching or locking sensation when you move the joint. Without treatment, patellar instability may damage the cartilage of your knee and lead to arthritis.

When would I need patellar stabilization?

To determine whether you need patellar stabilization, Dr. Lintner first reviews your medical history and carefully examines your knee. He may obtain imaging, such as an X-ray, to diagnose patellar instability.

Then, he creates a personalized treatment plan. Dr. Lintner explores nonsurgical treatments first, such as immobilization in a knee brace and physical therapy. 

You may need surgical patellar stabilization if you have an acute knee dislocation that caused a piece of cartilage to break off or a ligament to tear. Recurrent kneecap dislocations that continue despite attempts at conservative treatment may also require surgery. 

What should I expect from patellar stabilization?

Dr. Lintner has had excellent success performing patellar stabilization surgery. Depending on your needs, he may use one of the following techniques:

  • Reconstruction of ruptured ligaments
  • Realignment of the patella
  • Lateral release of ligaments
  • Shaving or removing damaged bone or cartilage

Dr. Lintner uses minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery whenever possible, but certain procedures may require open surgery. Arthroscopy involves smaller incisions, less pain, and a faster recovery. 

After patellar stabilization surgery, you may need to wear a knee brace and use crutches for about six weeks. You start physical therapy as soon as the initial pain and swelling go down. Depending on the type of procedure you need, a full recovery may take about 6-8 months. 

If you need patellar stabilization, call the office of David Lintner, MD, or book an appointment online today.