Patellar Fracture Repair
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.
What do I need to know about patellar fracture repair?
A patellar fracture repair is surgery to repair a fractured (broken) and dislocated patella (kneecap).
How do I prepare for patellar fracture repair?
- Your surgeon will tell you how to prepare. Arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery. This person will need to stay with you for 24 hours to make sure you are okay. Your surgeon may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight, on the night before your surgery.
- You may need to wear a splint or brace on your leg until surgery. This helps decrease movement and helps prevent more injury to your kneecap.
- You may need an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI before surgery. Your surgeon may use these tests to help plan your surgery.
- Tell your surgeon about all your current medicines, including any herbs or supplements. Your surgeon will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. Your surgeon will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
- Tell your surgeon about any allergies you have, including to medicines or anesthesia. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anaesthesia in the past.
- Make a list of questions you may have about your surgery and care.
What will happen during patellar fracture repair?
- You may be given general anaesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given spinal anaesthesia to numb the surgery area. With spinal anaesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel pain.
- Your surgeon will decide on the best way to repair your kneecap:
- An arthroscopic reduction and fixation means the surgeon makes small incisions over your patella. The surgeon then puts a camera (scope) and other small tools through the incisions to repair your patella.
- An open reduction and fixation means the surgeon makes a large incision over your knee.
- A partial or total patellectomy means your surgeon makes an incision over your knee. Your surgeon will then remove part or all your patella.
- The fractured pieces of your kneecap will be put back in their correct places. Your surgeon may use 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 prevent infection.
What should I expect after patella fracture repair?
Healthcare providers will watch you closely for any problems. When your 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. Do not get out of bed until your provider says it is okay.
- Medicines may be given to relieve pain or to prevent an infection.
- You will have a splint, brace, or cast on your knee. This will protect your kneecap and limit movement so it can heal.
- Follow your surgeon's instructions about knee movement. This will help prevent your kneecap from moving out of place after surgery. You may not be able to use your leg to walk right after surgery. You may need crutches or a cane.
- A physical therapist will give you exercises to strengthen your upper leg muscles.
What are the risks of patella fracture repair?
You may bleed more than expected or develop 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 develop a blood clot in your leg. This may become life-threatening.
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