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Patellar Fracture Repair


A patellar fracture repair is surgery to repair a fractured and displaced patella (kneecap).

Knee Anatomy


Before your surgery:

  • 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.
  • An IV will be placed into a vein. You may be given liquid or medicine through the IV.
  • Anesthesia is medicine to make you comfortable during the surgery. Healthcare providers will work with you to decide which anesthesia is best for you.
    • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
    • Spinal anesthesia numbs the area and dulls the pain. You may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery.

During your surgery:

  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given spinal anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With spinal anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain.
  • With an arthroscopic reduction and fixation, small incisions are made in the skin over your kneecap. An arthroscope (thin tube with a camera on the end) and other small tools are put through the cuts. With an open reduction and fixation, a larger cut is made in the skin to open it for repair. With a partial or total patellectomy, you surgeon will make a cut and remove part, or all, of your kneecap. The fractured pieces of your kneecap are put back in their correct places. Your surgeon may use hardware, such as wires, screws, or other materials, to hold the pieces together. The incisions are closed with stitches and covered with bandages. Bandages help keep the area clean and dry to help prevent infection.

After your surgery:

You are taken to a room where you can rest. You will have a splint, brace, or cast on your knee. This will protect your kneecap and limit movement so it can heal. Healthcare providers will watch you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When healthcare providers see that you are ready, you may be allowed to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your room.

  • Follow your surgeon's instructions about knee movement. This will help prevent your kneecap from moving out of place after surgery. You may be given exercises to strengthen your upper leg muscles.
  • Use support devices as directed. You may not be able to use your leg to walk right after surgery. You may need crutches or a cane.
  • Medicines may be given to relieve pain or to prevent an infection.


You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. The hardware in your knee may break or come loose. You may have stiffness in your knee after your kneecap has healed. Scar tissue may form on or under your skin where you had surgery. You may have less movement and strength in your knee and leg. Your bones may not heal properly after surgery. You may get a blood clot in your leg. This may become life-threatening.


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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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 Repair (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

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