Quadricepsplasty is an open surgical procedure to release the rectus femoris part of the quadriceps muscle when adhesions have tied it down to the underlying vastus intermedius muscle.

Page updated September 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

adhesions behind the quads muscles

This illustration shows adhesions in the suprapatellar pouch, deep to the muscle group of the quadriceps. But adhesions can also form between the muscle heads making up the quads.


Understanding arthrofibrosis

Arthrofibrosis is a disorder of healing where the body tries to heal neighbouring inflamed tissues by drawing them together inappropriately with connective tissue, leading to joint stiffness.

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The procedure of quadricepsplasty

There are two types of procedure called quadricepsplasty - distal and proximal. Distal quadricepsplasty is called Thompson's quadricepsplasty and is a paediatric procedure not appropriate for adult knees. In adults it is usually the proximal or Judet procedure that is performed - a stepwise procedure where after each surgical step the knee is evaluated to see if range of movement has improved. Adhesions of the capsule are first released, then the rectus muscle is cut and the whole quadriceps released from the underlying bone, together with release of the fascial soft tissues holding tissues together.

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Rehabilitation after quadricepsplasty

Early rehabilitation focus on continuous passive motion with a CPM machine.

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Forum discussions

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Peer-reviewed publications

Bari MM, Islam S, Shetu NH, et al. Judet’s quadricepsplasty for extension contracture of the knee (stiff knee). MOJ Orthop Rheumatol. 2015;2(6):202-206. DOI: 10.15406/mojor.2015.02.00071

Judet's quadricepsplasty for extension contracture of the knee (stiff knee)

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

See biography...