What is a patellar tendon tear?
The patellar tendon works together with the quadriceps muscles and quadriceps tendon to straighten the knee. Patellar tendon tears are typically caused by either a traumatic injury or previous tendon weakness. Small tears of the tendon can make it difficult to walk and participate in other daily activities. A large tear of the patellar tendon is a disabling injury, and usually requires surgery to regain full knee function.
Who is a candidate for patellar tendon repair?
Depending on the amount of damage and size of the tear, partial patellar tendon tears may be able to be treated without surgery. However, surgical repair is usually necessary to obtain the optimal outcome for large, partial tears and complete ruptures, preferably as quickly as possible. When a complete rupture is treated in a timely manner, the surgeon is able to restore function more effectively and prevent the tendon from shortening and scarring.
What is done to repair the patellar tendon?
To reattach the tendon, sutures are placed in the tendon and then threaded through drill holes in the kneecap. The sutures are then tied at the top of the kneecap, with the surgeon paying careful attention to tie the sutures with the correct tension in the tendon. This also ensures that the position of the kneecap closely matches that of your uninjured side.