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Author Topic: Subluxation vs Dislocation  (Read 2384 times)

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Offline hexcat

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Subluxation vs Dislocation
« on: October 31, 2008, 08:12:55 PM »
Hello all -

I have been reading through many of the posts and now have a question?  For 20 years my knees have been what I thought was dislocating.  However my physician dx me with sublaxation.  When this happens it is unpredictable, my knee cap moves outward, very painful and I generally fall.  As I am falling the knee cap goes back into place.  One time it stayed out of place and I had to manually place it back in.  I have been to OS since a teen and all he recommended was PT.  I recently saw a different OS and he told me that my groove is too shallow and that is why my knee goes out.  Still recommended PT but said there was a surgery he could that may help.  Involved moving my patella and using screws.  My questions are

Is my knee dislocating or sublaxating?
What surgical procedure might this be?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!   

Offline Silkncardcrafts

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Re: Subluxation vs Dislocation
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2008, 09:38:22 AM »
Hi there,

It sounds like your kneecap maybe subluxing and dislocating.

Subluxation is when the kneecap comes partially out of the groove, but a dislocation is when it comes fully out. I have had a lot of subluxations and also some dislocations.

If you have a shallow groove you may benefit from a trochleoplasty. I had one about 6 months ago and has helped me a lot. Sounds like you have done physio for a long time and hasn't really helped. I would encourage you to find an OS that specialises in patella problems. It is soooo important.
11/1996 - RK LR
07/1997 - LK LR
11/1998 - LK MPFL Reco
12/2005 - RK LR Repair
07/2006 - LK MPFL Repair
11/2006 - LK LR Repair
22/05/08 - LK Trochleoplasty
11/02/10 - RK Trochleoplasty
07/03/11 - RK Chrondroplasty


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Re: Subluxation vs Dislocation
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2008, 01:19:09 PM »
Subluxation is when your kneecap partially comes out of the groove and then goes back into place.  This can happen quite frequently.  A dislocation is where the kneecap comes out completely and remains out until it is manually put back in place.  Dislocations generally happen far fewer times.  The two terms are often used interchangably, but they are different.

I would recommend seeing a patella specialist.  This is soooo important as only a specialist will be able to properly diagnose and treat your condition.  Important to note is that just because an OS suggests a surgery it does not mean they are qualified to perform the surgery.  Please take the extra time to make sure you see the right doctor.  Anyone here will tell you what a big difference that makes.  It can help you avoid unecessary surgery and pain.

As far as the surgery mentioned to you, it sounds like a TTT.  That is where the attachement of the patella tendon on the tibia is cut and moved to a new location.  The piece of bone is then secured with screws.  I have had this done four times, twice on each knee.  Its a fairly major surgery and the recovery is long.  IF it is done for the right reasons and by a qualified OS the results can be very good. 


Offline MD-F

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Re: Subluxation vs Dislocation
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2008, 10:36:42 PM »

I have suffered from subluxation and dislocatons since i was 11 yrs of age. I have recently undergone surgery at the age of 37, so only took 26 yrs to sort it out!!

I agree get a good surgeon, it is important to get one that understands your problem.
I underwent a MPFL replacement and lateral release 3 wks ago, the recovery has been slow but all seem to be going well(fingers crossed)

This may not be the right type of surgery for you and a TTT may be the best option, but please take your time and find the right surgeon.
Keep going with PT but be prepared to undergo some kind of surgery.

Take care and keep us posted - we have all been through the trials and tribulations of knee surgery, it sucks sometimes but we all manage to get through it the best we can.