Knee Arthroscopy Surgeon

Are you an athlete or active individual who is experiencing pain in, under, or to the side of your kneecap? Do you feel like your patella moves incorrectly, or are you bothered by constant knee pain?  If so, you may have a knee condition called anterior knee pain which can be helped by a non-invasive procedure called lateral release.  Arthroscopic knee surgeon, Doctor Riley J. Williams provides diagnosis as well as surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manhattan and New York City, NY who are experiencing knee pain and require a lateral release. Contact Dr. Williams’ team today!

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What is knee arthroscopy lateral release?

Arthroscopic lateral release surgery describes a procedure that treats painful condition of the kneecap or patella. Often, the soft tissue structures around the kneecap tighten and contract; in these circumstances, the tracking of the patella is altered which results in anterior knee pain. Release of the soft tissues around the patella can provide substantial pain relief. Typically, the knee retinaculum on the lateral side of the knee is cut to realign of the patella. This procedure enables the patella to glide more efficiently in the trochlear groove. Releasing the retinaculum is helpful for those who suffer from a misalignment of the patella. Dr. Riley J. Williams, orthopedic knee surgeon, serving Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs, has extensive experience in performing knee arthroscopy lateral release procedures.

Why is knee arthroscopy lateral release performed?

Individuals who suffer knee pain on the lateral side of the patella may need surgery if conservative treatment methods fail. If nonoperative methods such as  knee bracing, rest, activity modification or physical therapy do not provide adequate pain relief, a lateral release may be the next step in treatment to realign the patella. Releases can be done to treat partial dislocations of the kneecap and overload syndromes of the kneecap as well. Partial dislocation can stem from a lateral patellar tilt, lateral riding patella, or both. The strong quad muscle on the outer side of the thigh can pull the patella out of its groove; this is known as a lateral patellar tilt. If an individual’s kneecap rests higher in the thighbone than normal, it can cause dislocation and is referred to as lateral riding patella. Lateral release can allow the patella sit more centrally in the groove. Lateral release can also decrease the load the patella experiences during normal sporting and day to day activities such as stairclimbing, running and squatting.

How is arthroscopic (keyhole) lateral release surgery performed?

This is a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure that is performed on an outpatient basis. Light sedation and regional anesthesia are used for this procedure. Dr. Williams will begin the surgery by making two small incisions in the knee. These incisions allow the arthroscope and surgical tools to be inserted into the knee. Fluid is used to inflate and expand the knee joint to allow Dr. Williams to properly perform the surgery. Images of the knee joint are projected onto a monitor while Dr. Williams releases the retinaculum. This release decreases the tension that pulls on the patella. Improved side to side patella mobility is typical following lateral retinaculum release. Movement of the kneecap is tested before the incision sites are sutured closed. The patient is typically able to go home shortly after waking up from surgery.

What are the risks of lateral release?

This type of knee arthroscopy is a relatively simple; the risks associated with this procedure are minimal. Care is taken to cauterize all visual bleeding in the knee joint as postoperative blood collection in the knee can occur and cause pain and inflammation. The development of scar tissue and infection is also possible but occur rarely. The best chances of a successful outcome can depend heavily on whether an individual is a good candidate for surgery. Factors such as age, activity level and overall health can play a role. Dr. Williams discusses the risk and benefits with all patients prior to moving ahead with this procedure.

How long does it take to recover from a lateral release?

The vast majority of patients go home shortly after the surgery. Crutches are used the first week. Physical therapy starts approximately one week following surgery, and continues for about 8 weeks. Full recovery is expected between 3-6 months depending on the patient’s ability to regain normal lower extremity strength.

For additional resources on knee arthroscopy lateral release or to have your knee pain evaluated, please contact the office of Dr. Riley J. Williams, MD, orthopedic knee surgeon serving Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs.