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Lateral Release and Medial Imbrication

If you need a lateral release and medial imbrication, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.

What Is A Lateral Release and Medial Imbrication?

Lateral release and medial imbrication are surgical procedures performed on the knee to address issues related to patellar instability or maltracking. Some kneecap issues, such as Chondromalacia Patella and Patellar Malalignment benefit from this procedure. Here’s a brief explanation of each procedure:

  1. Lateral Release: Lateral release, also known as lateral retinacular release, is a surgical procedure that involves cutting or releasing the tight structures on the outer side (lateral side) of the patella (kneecap). The goal is to loosen the lateral retinaculum, which is the tissue on the outer edge of the patella, and relieve any abnormal pressure or tension that may be causing the patella to track improperly.

By releasing the tight lateral structures, lateral release aims to realign the patella and improve its movement within the knee joint. This procedure is typically performed arthroscopically, using small incisions and specialized instruments.

  1. Medial Imbrication: Medial imbrication, also called medial reefing or medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) imbrication, is a surgical technique that strengthens the medial (inner) side of the patella. It involves tightening or repairing the medial patellofemoral ligament, which is a major stabilizing structure on the inner aspect of the knee that helps keep the patella in place.

During the procedure, the ligament is tightened or reconstructed to improve its function and provide stability to the patella, preventing it from dislocating or subluxating (partial dislocation) in the future. Medial imbrication is often performed in cases of patellar instability or recurrent patellar dislocations.

Both lateral release and medial imbrication are surgical options used to address specific problems related to the patella and its alignment within the knee joint. The decision to perform either procedure or a combination of both depends on the individual’s specific condition, the underlying causes of patellar instability, and the surgeon’s assessment.

It’s important to note that these procedures are typically performed by orthopedic surgeons who specialize in knee surgery. They will evaluate the patient’s symptoms, conduct a thorough examination, and may recommend imaging tests to determine the most appropriate surgical approach for the specific case. Pre- and post-operative rehabilitation and physical therapy may be necessary to optimize outcomes and promote a successful recovery.


If you would like to speak to an Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Specialist, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Tele-medicine appointments are also available.