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Patellar Dislocation


A patellar dislocation occurs when your patella (kneecap) is forced out of place. It can be caused by a fall or a direct blow to your knee. It can also happen if your knee twists or rotates. It is most likely to happen during physical activity, such as sports, military training, or dance.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • NSAIDs decrease swelling and pain. Tell your healthcare provider if you take blood thinner medicine.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given to decrease your pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.


  • X-rays are pictures of your knee. They are used to see if your patella is dislocated and if you have other injuries.
  • An MRI scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your knee. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • A CT scan is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your knee. You may be given dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.


  • Healthcare providers will immobilize your knee with a brace, cast, or splint. This decreases pain and holds your knee joint still to help it heal. This may also help prevent your kneecap from dislocating again.
  • Aspiration is when a needle is used to remove blood and fluid from your knee. This reduces swelling and pain.
  • Surgery is done when healthcare providers cannot move your kneecap back into place. Surgery may also be done if your kneecap dislocates more than once. Surgery will usually be arthroscopic. This means a small incision is made and a scope is used to help your healthcare provider repair your knee joint.


With or without treatment, your kneecap may not be as stable as it was before dislocation. You may develop arthritis in your knee. Your kneecap may dislocate again. There is a risk of infection if you have surgery.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.