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Patellar Fracture in Children


A patellar fracture is a break in your child's kneecap.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child 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 child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.


  • Pain medicine: Your child may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you give your child his medicine.
  • Antibiotics: These medicines help fight or prevent an infection. They are usually given if your child has an open fracture.
  • Td vaccine: This vaccine is a booster shot used to help prevent diphtheria and tetanus. Your child may need the Td vaccine if he has an open patellar fracture.


  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your child's knee. Your child may be given dye in his IV to help healthcare providers see the images better. Tell the healthcare provider if your child is allergic to dye, iodine, or seafood. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell healthcare providers if your child has any metal in or on his body.
  • Bone scan: This is a test to look at your child's patellar fracture and check for infection. Your child will get a radioactive liquid, called a tracer, through a vein in his arm. The tracer collects in your child's bones and pictures are taken.


  • Brace, cast, or splint: These are supportive devices to stop your child's kneecap from moving and help it heal. They often extend from the groin to the ankle. He may also need to use crutches to help him move around while his knee heals.
  • Surgery:
    • Irrigation and debridement: This procedure is done to clean and remove objects, dirt, or dead tissue from the fracture area.
    • Open reduction and internal fixation: During this surgery, healthcare providers make a large incision over your child's kneecap. The broken pieces of bone and ligaments are moved back to their correct places. Bone pieces and ligaments may be secured using wires, pins, screws, or bands.
    • Closed reduction: During this surgery, healthcare providers move the broken pieces of bone and ligaments back to their correct places without a large incision. External fixation may be used to hold your child's kneecap in place, and then later removed.
    • Patellectomy: During a partial or complete patellectomy, part or all of your child's kneecap is removed.
  • Physical therapy: Your child may need to see a physical therapist to teach him special exercises. These exercises help improve movement and decrease pain. Physical therapy can also help improve strength and decrease your child's risk for loss of function.


  • Your child's leg may get stiff if he wears a supportive device. He may still have knee pain, even after treatment. His knee may not look like it did before the injury. He may need to have surgery again. Even after surgery, the broken pieces of bone or the hardware may move out of place. He can get an infection.
  • Without treatment, your child's kneecap may not heal correctly. It may be permanently displaced. This can affect how your child walks. His leg muscles may weaken, which can limit your child's activities.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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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.

Learn more about Patellar Fracture in Children (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

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