The most common modern procedure for medial patellar stabilization involves reconstruction of the medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) and involves reconstructed ligament attachment to the femur and patella. However, cases of patellar fracture have been reported, particularly in the smaller anatomy of the pediatric population, leading to further investigations of patella stabilizing structures. The medial quadriceps tendon femoral ligament has been identified as a separate structure, connecting the patella to the femur, and playing a significant role in patella stability. Reconstruction of this ligament may serve a role in patellar stabilization similar to pedicled quadriceps tendon medial ligamentous reconstructions. The anatomy and relationship of the MQTFL attachment to the quadriceps tendon and proximal pole of the patella has not been described in pediatric specimens.
To determine the anatomical relationship and attachment of the medial quadriceps tendon femoral ligament (MQTFL) on the patella and quadriceps tendon.
Six pediatric cadaveric knee specimens were dissected to identify the patellar and quadriceps attachment site of the MQTFL. Dissection was facilitated by lateral arthrotomy and identification of the MQTFL thickened fibers from the undersurface of the ligament.
Six specimens included patients a mean age of 6 years at time of patient death (three 10 year-old specimens, one 4 year-old, and one 2-month-old specimen). The MQTFL was identified in all specimens. As identified from the undersurface of the everted extensor mechanism, it was found to insert a mean distance of 10.5 mm (3.9 – 18.2) from the superior pole of the patella. The attachment distally along the edge of the bony patella measured a mean of 12.7 mm (range 5.4-19.4). total patellar length, as measured from the posterior articular surface was mean of 24.5 mm (range 11.0-35.6). Attachment to the quadriceps tendon averaged 47% of total attachment to both the quadriceps tendon and patella; and, conversely, direct patellar measurement averaged 53%.
This study provides quantitative anatomy for attachment of the MQTFL to the patella and quadriceps tendon. Precise knowledge of these structures will assist to more precisely define the complex relationship between stabilizing structures to the medial patellofemoral joint and assist in patella stabilization procedures, particularly in skeletally immature patients. Lower the risk of patella fracture may be one of the key benefits of this procedure, compared with MPFL reconstruction.