MPFL is an abbreviation of 'medial patello-femoral ligament'.
Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)
What does the MPFL do?
The MPFL supports the patella, acting as a restraint on the medial side for the first few degrees and bending of the knee, helping to keep it aligned in the underlying groove of the femur as the knee bends and straightens.
During a traumatic dislocation of the patella, the MPFL may become injured and the patella may become more unstable. The tear may be an avulsion, a simple sprain, a partial tear or a full substance tear, and may be accompanied by tears of the VMO muscle (vastus medialis obliquus) and the medial retinaculum.
Initially the doctor may choose to treat the problem without surgery, and sometimes the instability settles down, but if dislocations recur, reconstructive surgery may be advised.
The knee surgeon may elect to repair the torn ligament to improve stability. A variety of natural and synthetic materials have been used for such reconstructions, but the jury seems to be still out on which is best.
- Scar Tissue MPFL Reconstruction
A patient struggles with regaining normal movement after an MPFL reconstruction for patellar dislocation.
- Scar Tissue MPFL Reconstruction (2)
Discussion of symptoms after MPFL reconstruction.
"Up to 94–100% of patients suffer from medial patellofemoral ligament rupture after first time patellar dislocation."
Citation: Krebs C, Tranovich M, Andrews K, Ebraheim N. The medial patellofemoral ligament: Review of the literature. J Orthop. 2018 May 7;15(2):596-599. doi: 10.1016/j.jor.2018.05.004. PMID: 29881201; PMCID: PMC5990246.