Review Article

Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 137-148

High resolution magnetic resonance imaging of the patellar retinaculum: normal anatomy, common injury patterns, and pathologies

  • Shrey K. ThawaitAffiliated withYale University - Bridgeport Hospital
  • , Theodoros SoldatosAffiliated withJohns Hopkins Hospital
  • , Gaurav K. ThawaitAffiliated withJohns Hopkins Hospital
  • , Andrew J. CosgareaAffiliated withJohns Hopkins Hospital
  • , John A. CarrinoAffiliated withJohns Hopkins Hospital
  • , Avneesh ChhabraAffiliated withJohns Hopkins HospitalDepartment of Radiology and Radiological Science, The Johns Hopkins Hospital Email author 

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The medial patellar retinaculum (MPR) and the lateral patellar retinaculum (LPR) are vital structures for the stability of the patella. Failure to identify or treat injury to the patellar retinaculum is associated with recurrent patellar instability and contributes to significant morbidity. High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) readily depicts the detailed anatomy of various components (layers) of the retinacula. In this review article, we discuss normal anatomy, important landmarks, common injury patterns, and other pathologies encountered in patellar retinacula. High field strength MRI is an excellent noninvasive tool for evaluation of patellar retinaculum anatomy and pathology. This article will help the reader become familiar with normal imaging findings and the most commonly occurring injuries/pathologies in MPR and LPR.


Patellar retinaculum Medial patellar retinaculum Lateral patellar retinaculum Medial patellofemoral ligament Medial patellomeniscal ligament Medial patellotibial ligament Injury Pathology Magnetic resonance imaging