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TEXT: (908) 224-4639
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Lateral Release

A lateral release, also known as a lateral retinacular release, is a surgical procedure performed on the knee to address issues related to the patella (kneecap) and its tracking within the femoral groove. this procedure involves releasing or cutting a portion of the lateral retinaculum, a thick band of tissue on the outer side of the knee, to alleviate patellar malalignment or instability.

Here’s an overview of a lateral release procedure:

  • Indications: Lateral releases are typically considered when there are problems with the alignment or tracking of the patella, causing conditions like patellofemoral pain syndrome, patellar subluxation (partial dislocation), or patellar instability. These issues may result in pain, clicking sensations, or difficulty moving the knee.
  • Procedure: The surgery is performed under anesthesia, either general or regional, to ensure the patient is comfortable and pain-free.
  • Incisions: The surgeon makes a small incision on the outer side of the knee, over the lateral retinaculum.
  • Release: The surgeon identifies the lateral retinaculum and carefully releases or cuts a portion of it. This can help reduce excessive tension on the lateral side of the patella, allowing it to track more smoothly within the femoral groove.
  • Realignment: By releasing the lateral retinaculum, the patella’s alignment and tracking may be improved, leading to reduced pain and improved joint function.
  • Closure: After the procedure, the incision is closed using sutures or other closure methods.
  • Recovery: Following the surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation are crucial to regain strength, flexibility, and stability in the knee. The patient gradually returns to weight-bearing activities based on the surgeon’s and physical therapist’s guidance.

It’s important to keep in mind that a lateral release isn’t always the first option for knee pain or instability. It’s usually considered an option only when conservative treatments have not provided sufficient relief.

The decision to undergo a lateral release is made in consultation with an orthopedic surgeon who assesses the patient’s condition, medical history, as well as the imaging results. The procedure aims to address specific patellar alignment issues and is performed when the benefits outweigh the potential risks and recovery process. As with any surgical procedure, recovery times and outcomes can vary from patient to patient.