Overview of lateral release knee surgery

This knee surgery is designed to loosen or tighten ligaments on either side of the patella (kneecap) to improve the movement of the patella in patients suffering from patellar tracking disorder. This procedure is usually performed arthroscopically through one or two small incisions near the patella.

Retinaculum cut

Through the arthroscope, the surgeon cuts the lateral retinaculum. This relieves the tightness, decreases the lateral pull on the patella, and allows the kneecap to move correctly within the femoral groove again. The surgeon may also use sutures to tighten the attachments on the other side of the knee.

End of procedure and after care

After the surgery, the incisions are closed. Following this arthroscopic knee surgery, crutches may be necessary for several days and physical therapy is prescribed. Over time, the cut attachment heals by forming scar tissue between the cut ends. Complete knee recovery usually takes six months to a year.