Patellar fracture is a complete or incomplete fracture (break) of the patella (kneecap). The patella serves as an attachment point for the powerful quadriceps’ tendon to straighten the knee, stand, squat and jump. When the patella is fractured, there is a loss of continuity between the quadriceps muscles and the tibia (lower leg bone). Therefore, the patient is unable to straighten his/her knee or walk normally without the knee giving out. If the patella fracture is severely displaced, surgery is necessary to repair the patella and restore normal knee function.
The goal of the surgery is to repair and realign the fractured patella fragments and restore normal knee mechanics. In surgery, Dr. Chudik identifies the patella fracture fragments through a limited incision just over the front of the knee. Once identified, he creates small channels through the patella fragments and passes strong sutures through the tunnels and ties them to realign the fragments anatomically. Most orthopaedic surgeons use metal hardware such as pins, screws, wires and sometimes plates to repair patella fractures. However, Dr. Chudik’s technique avoids using metal hardware which is associated with hardware impingement and irritation of tissues, sensitivity to direct contact, knee pain and second surgeries to remove the hardware. With the all-suture repair, these painful complications and the need for hardware removal operation are avoided.