Tibial Tubercle Transfer (Osteotomy)

Banff Sport Medicine

The tibial tubercle is the bony bump on the front of your leg where the tendon from the patella (knee cap) inserts. In tibial tubercle osteotomy surgery (also called tibial tubercle transfer) this tuberosity, with the tendon attached, is cut and shifted. The tubercle is held in its new position with 2 screws made of stainless steel. Moving the tibial tubercle medially (towards the inside of the leg) treats patellar instability by decreasing the lateral pull on the patella. This causes the patella to move in a more correct line and makes it less likely to dislocate. Moving the tibial tubercle anteriorly (forward) can decrease the pain of severe arthritis by removing stress from damaged areas of bony cartilage. Moving the patella distally (down the leg) will also pull down a high riding patella. During the surgery a camera is used to look inside the knee (arthroscopy) to see if the patella is in a better position and also to check for and clean up any damage inside the knee. If your patella is unstable, a tibial tubercle transfer may be done in combination with another patellar stabilizing surgery, such as a medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction or imbrication.