Lateral patellar retinaculum

Last revised by Joel Hng on 16 Mar 2023

The lateral patellar retinaculum is a fibrous expansion comprising of superficial and deep layers.

The superficial layer originates from the lowest fibers of the iliotibial band and from an extension of vastus lateralis fascia. The deep layer is comprised of the lateral patellofemoral ligament, patellotibial band and transverse ligament.

It thickens as it inserts onto the lateral border of the patella, quadriceps tendon and patellar ligament. From this insertion, it extends posteriorly to blend with the lateral margin of the knee capsule and inferior surface of the lateral tibial condyle 1,2.

The lateral patellar retinaculum is less commonly injured than the medial patellar retinaculum, however it is often disrupted during surgery to correct abnormal lateral patellar tracking or dislocation 3.

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