'Bi-partite' means 'in two parts', and in the knee world usually refers to a kneecap (patella) which is in two parts - a bi-partite patella.

Patella bipartita
This image looks like a fracture, but it is actually something called a 'bipartite patella' - where the embryonic components of the kneecap have failed to fuse properly as the person grew.

 

Bi-partite patella

Found normally (without injury) in a small percentage of people, a true bi-partite patella usually has a big part, forming most of the patella, and a second smaller part connected to the other by strong fibrous tissue.

Very occasionally, a divided patella does occur as a result of injury when two pieces of a fractured (broken) patella fail to unite. This is correctly called a 'non-union' rather than a bi-partite patella.

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CLINICAL PUBLICATIONS

Excision of Painful Bipartite Patella: Good Long-term Outcome in Young Adults. Weckström M, Parviainen M and Pihlajamäki. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008 Nov; 466(11): 2848–2855.

Arthroscopic Bony Resection for Treatment of Symptomatic Bipartite Patella. Ferrari MB, Sanchez A, George Sanchez G, Schantz K, Ellera Gomes JL and Provencher MT. Arthrosc Tech. 2017 Aug; 6(4): e1003–e1007.


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