Dorsal defect of the patella

Case contributed by Dr Daniel Zimmermann Stefani


58 year-old man presenting with medial knee pain, no recent injury.

Patient Data

Age: 58
Gender: Male

Subcondral bone plate irregularity with intact overlying cartilage at the superolateral aspect of the patella, consistent with a dorsal defect of the patella.

Case Discussion

The dorsal defect of the patella is a normal developmental variant, present in 0,3 to 1% of the population that can be mistaken with a osteochondral lesion. It is usually assimptomatic, but sometimes it can be source of anterior knee pain. It is typically located in the superolateral aspect of the patella and usually presents with a normal overlying cartilage. Healing may occur spontaneously.

This patient also had a distended bursae anserina (not shown), likely the cause of his medial knee pain, being the dorsal defect an incidental finding.

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Case information

rID: 30403
Published: 10th Aug 2014
Last edited: 24th Nov 2015
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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