J Knee Surg 2022; 35(12): 1326-1332
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1723013
Original Article

Transosseous Repair of Patellar Sleeve Fractures: A Case Series and Surgical Technique Guide

1   Department of Orthopaedics, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia
Anthony C. Egger
1   Department of Orthopaedics, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia
S. Clifton Willimon
1   Department of Orthopaedics, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.


The purpose of this study is to describe the surgical technique and outcomes of transosseous repair of patellar sleeve fractures in a pediatric cohort. A retrospective review was performed on patients younger than 16 years undergoing transosseous repair of distal patellar sleeve fractures. A chart review was performed on demographics, surgical repair technique, and postoperative care. Primary outcomes included intact extensor mechanism function and range of motion (ROM) at final follow-up. In this study, 20 patients, 17 males and 3 females, with a mean age of 11.7 years were included. ROM was initiated at a median of 27.5 days following surgery. All patients had a healed patellar sleeve fracture and intact extensor function at final follow-up. Final mean knee ROM among the 18 patients with minimum 3-month follow-up was 132 degrees. Thirteen patients (72%) achieved full ROM (≥ 130 degrees) and 5 patients (28%) achieved less than 130 degrees knee flexion. Duration of initial immobilization was found to be the only variable strongly associated with final postoperative ROM. Mean duration of immobilization for patients achieving ≥ 130 degrees was 24 days versus 44 days in those patients achieving < 130 degrees, p = 0.009. All patients who began knee ROM within 21 days of surgery obtained full knee ROM. No patients experienced construct failure or extensor lag. Operative management of displaced patellar sleeve fractures with anatomic transosseous suture repair of the sleeve fracture, brief immobilization no more than 21 days, and initiation range of early ROM results in excellent outcomes.

Publication History

Received: 20 August 2020

Accepted: 17 December 2020

Article published online:
05 February 2021

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