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Patellar Fracture Repair


  • Patellar fracture repair is surgery that is done to repair a fractured (broken) and displaced patella. The patella (kneecap) is a thick, triangular bone that protects the front of the knee joint. When a kneecap is displaced, pieces of bone have moved out of place. A car accident, sports injury, or a hard fall on your knee may cause a patellar fracture. You may also have a periprosthetic patellar fracture. This is when your kneecap breaks after you have had surgery to replace your knee. Signs and symptoms of a patellar fracture may include pain and swelling. You may not have any signs or symptoms with a periprosthetic patellar fracture.
  • The type of patellar repair surgery you need depends on the kind of patellar fracture you have. You may need an arthroscopic or open reduction and fixation, a partial patellectomy, or a total patellectomy. Your caregiver will repair your kneecap by putting the fractured pieces of it back into their correct places. Patellar fracture repair may decrease your knee pain and increase movement and strength.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Follow-up visits:

  • Ask your caregiver when you should return to have your knee checked and the stitches removed. Tell your caregiver if you feel like the hardware in your knee is poking you or is painful. Caregivers may remove the painful hardware if enough time has passed since your surgery. Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit.

Activity guidelines:

  • Follow your caregiver's instructions about knee movement after surgery. This is very important because it may help prevent displacing your kneecap or other problems after surgery. Some knee stiffness is normal after surgery. Knee movement may help prevent stiffness and swelling of the knee joint.
  • Caregivers may teach you special exercises to strengthen your upper leg muscles. You may not be able to use your leg to walk (no weight-bearing). Over time, you may be able to do straight leg raises and a small amount of leg extension. You may be able to put some weight on your leg (partial weight-bearing). Later you may be able to extend your leg more and use your leg to walk (full weight-bearing). It may take six months or longer for you to return to such activities as sports.

Using crutches or a cane:

Your caregiver will tell you when you can start using crutches or a cane. These devices may help support your knee when walking and may decrease your chance of falling. Follow your caregiver's instructions about how much weight to put on your injured leg. It is important to use these devices correctly. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to use crutches or a cane.

Wearing a hinged knee brace, cast, or splint:

You may need to wear a hinged knee brace, cast, or splint after your surgery. These devices normally cover your leg from your upper thigh to your ankle. Your knee brace, cast, or splint helps support and protect your knee. Ask your caregiver for directions about using and caring for your knee brace, cast, or splint.

  • Hinged knee brace: The hinged knee brace can be locked in certain positions. Right after surgery, your brace will be locked in a straight position. Over time, your caregiver will adjust your brace to allow more movement.
  • Cast: You may need a cast after surgery. When the cast is removed, caregivers may teach you special exercises to help strengthen your leg.
  • Splint: You may need a splint after surgery. This splint may be made of plaster and helps keep your leg straight.

Wound care:

Follow your caregiver's instructions on how to care for your surgery area.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain or swelling in your knee that is worse or does not go away.
  • Your surgery area is swollen, red, or draining pus, or your stitches have come apart.
  • You cannot put your weight on your injured leg as well as you should.
  • You fall and injure the knee that you had surgery on.
  • You have increased knee stiffness or you cannot bend or extend (straighten) your leg as well as you should.
  • You have questions or concerns about your patellar fracture, surgery, or care.


  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.

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 Repair (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.