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  • Author: Julie A. Fuller x
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Julie A. Fuller, Heidi L. Hammil, Kelly J. Pronschinske and Chris J. Durall

Clinical Scenario: Acute patellar dislocations during adolescence often lead to future patellar instability. Two common treatment options include nonoperative treatment or operative repair of injured structures. Focused Clinical Question: In adolescents with acute patellar dislocation, how does operative stabilization compare with nonoperative treatment for reducing dislocation recurrence? Summary of Key Findings: Three studies were included: 2 randomized controlled trials and 1 nonrandomized study. All studies compared operative and nonoperative treatment outcomes in adolescents who experienced an acute patellar dislocation. Each study included nonoperative treatment such as patellar bracing and quadriceps strengthening. The operative treatments utilized in each study included lateral retinacular release and medial retinacular repair. All 3 of the studies included a follow-up of at least 6 years. Two of the studies concluded there to be no significant difference between treatment groups regarding redislocation rate, pain, and function. The third study reported a lower redislocation rate following operative treatment. Clinical Bottom Line: Reviewed evidence suggests that outcomes are similar when comparing operative and nonoperative treatment approaches with little agreement as to which is the optimal plan of action. Strength of Recommendation: One level II randomized controlled trial and a level III nonrandomized study suggest that patellar dislocation recurrence rates are similar among operative and nonoperative treatment approaches, while another level II randomized controlled trial suggests that an operative approach is superior.