Bipartite Patella



Patella may develop from one or multiple ossification centres at 3 years


Failure of centres to fuse may produce bipartite or tripartite patella

- usually bilateral and painless


Classically superolateral


Classification Saupe


I   Inferior Pole 5%

II  Lateral 20%

III Superolateral 75%


Bipartite patella SuperolateralBipartite patella




Bipartite Patella CT




1.  Overuse

- pain may result from repetitive microtrauma 

- injury to synchondrosis

- point tender & swollen


2. Acute injury

- can get acute injury with minor separation

- reports of bipartite patella healing post injury

- check SLR to ensure quadriceps tendon intact





- confirms quadriceps tendon intact

- look for increased uptake ? symptomatic


Bipartite patella MRI


Bone scan

- shown to have increased uptake in symptomatic / asymptomatic knees




Non operative Management


Majority will settle with non operative management

- mmobilisation for 4 weeks

- avoid impact sports


Ultrasound / Exogen

- reports of healing bipartite patella post injury


Operative Management




Lateral release


Adachi et al Arthroscopy 2002

- lateral release performed

- excellent results in 13 and good in 4

- nearly 2/3 healed and remainder partially healed

- bone union more likely in patients < 15


Mori et al Am J Sports Med 1995

- 15/16 united at 8 months post lateral release


Removal of bipartite patella

A. Open

- easiest

- often need to reattach quadriceps tendon with anchors


B. Arthroscopic


Bipartite PatellaBipartite Patella