Risk Factors and Time to Recurrent Ipsilateral and Contralateral Patellar Dislocations

Tyson C. Christensen, Thomas L. Sanders, Ayoosh Pareek, Rohith Mohan, Diane L. Dahm, Aaron Krych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


Background: Previous studies have reported variable rates of recurrent lateral patellar instability mainly because of limited cohort sizes. In addition, there is currently a lack of information on contralateral patellar instability. Purpose: To evaluate the rate of recurrent ipsilateral patellar dislocations and contralateral patellar dislocations after a first-time lateral patellar dislocation. Additionally, risk factors associated with recurrent dislocations (ipsilateral or contralateral) and time to recurrence were investigated. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: This population-based study included 584 patients with a first-time lateral patellar dislocation occurring between 1990 and 2010. A retrospective review was conducted to gather information about the injury, subsequent dislocations (ipsilateral or contralateral), and structural characteristics including trochlear dysplasia, patella alta, and tibial tubercle to trochlear groove (TT-TG) distance. Risk factors were assessed to delineate associations with subsequent dislocations and time to recurrence. Results: At a mean follow-up of 12.4 years, 173 patients had ipsilateral recurrence, and 25 patients had a subsequent contralateral dislocation. At 20 years, the cumulative incidence of ipsilateral recurrence was 36.0%, while the cumulative incidence of contralateral dislocations was 5.4%. Trochlear dysplasia (odds ratio [OR], 18.1), patella alta (OR, 10.4), age <18 years at the time of the first dislocation (OR, 2.4), elevated TT-TG distance (OR, 2.1), and female sex (OR, 1.5) were associated with recurrent ipsilateral dislocations. Time to recurrence was significantly decreased in patients with trochlear dysplasia (23.0 months earlier time to recurrence; P <.001), elevated TT-TG distance (18.5 months; P <.001), patella alta (16.4 months; P =.001), and age <18 years at the time of the first dislocation (15.4 months; P <.001). Risk factors for subsequent contralateral dislocations included patella alta and trochlear dysplasia. Conclusion: At 20 years after a first-time lateral patellar dislocation, the cumulative incidence of recurrent ipsilateral patellar dislocations was 36.0%, compared with 5.4% for contralateral dislocations. Trochlear dysplasia, elevated TT-TG distance, patella alta, age <18 years at the time of the first dislocation, and female sex were associated with ipsilateral recurrence. Trochlear dysplasia, elevated TT-TG distance, patella alta, and age <18 years at the time of the first dislocation were predictive of a statistically significant decrease in time to recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2105-2110
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017



  • knee
  • patella alta
  • patellar dislocation
  • patellar instability
  • trochlear dysplasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this