'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.




What is a 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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Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...