Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

, Volume 138, Issue 11, pp 1563–1573 | Cite as

Does patella alta lead to worse clinical outcome in patients who undergo isolated medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction? A systematic review

  • Anna Bartsch
  • Bart Lubberts
  • Marcus Mumme
  • Christian Egloff
  • Geert PagenstertEmail author
Arthroscopy and Sports Medicine



The aim of this systematic review is to determine the effect of patella height on clinical outcomes after isolated MPFL reconstruction for patella instability. Our primary hypothesis is that patients with patella alta report similar outcomes after isolated MPFL reconstruction compared to patients with normal patella height.


A review of the literature was performed according to the PRISMA guidelines. PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were searched from inception to January 10th 2018. Studies were identified using synonyms for “medial patellofemoral ligament”, “reconstruction” and “patella alta”.


The search resulted in 467 reports on PubMed, 175 on EMBASE and 3 on the Cochrane Library. We included and analyzed in detail six studies describing outcomes after isolated medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction with regard to patellar height. We found that both patients with patella alta and normal patella height reported satisfactory outcomes after isolated medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction. However, because of applied exclusion criteria in the included studies the total number of patients with severe patella alta was small (13/74 patients with patella alta, 18%).


Based on the current literature we suggest that additional tibial tubercle distalisation is not mandatory in patients with mild patella alta (Caton–Deschamps Index 1.2–1.4). To assess the best indications for different surgical procedures for patients with patella instability future research is needed to develop a clear and uniform definition of relevant patella alta.

Level of evidence



Patella alta Outcomes Medial patellofemoral ligament Knee Surgery 



There is no funding source.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

402_2018_2971_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Bartsch
    • 4
    • 5
  • Bart Lubberts
    • 4
  • Marcus Mumme
    • 4
  • Christian Egloff
    • 4
  • Geert Pagenstert
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Clinical ResearchUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Knee Institute BaselBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.CLARAHOF Clinic of Orthopaedic SurgeryMerian-Iselin-Hospital BaselBaselSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of Orthopedics and TraumatologyUniversity Hospital BaselBaselSwitzerland
  5. 5.Heidelberg UniversityHeidelbergGermany

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