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The Trochlear Groove

The patella (kneecap) articulates with the lower end of the femur (thighbone) at the patellofemoral joint. It rests on a groove on the femur called the trochlear groove, which holds it in position while allowing it to glide smoothly during knee movements.

Trochlear Dysplasia

Trochlear dysplasia is a condition where the trochlear groove is abnormally shaped, causing the patella to slip out of the groove or dislocate.


Trochleoplasty is a surgical procedure that reshapes the trochlea to prevent patellofemoral recurrent instability, and associated pain and disability. The surgery is indicated to treat a trochlea that has a spur (bony outgrowth), is flat or convex.

The Procedure

Before performing trochleoplasty, your doctor will ensure that the articular cartilage (spongy tissue that lines and cushions joints during movement) at the trochlea is normal and healthy. The surgery is avoided if there is any sign of arthritis.

The procedure may be performed as an open surgery or arthroscopically, a minimally invasive procedure that uses a narrow lighted tube with a camera to provide a clear view of the operating site. Trochleoplasty involves either lengthening the walls of the trochlear groove or deepening the groove by removing bone or any abnormal bony growths. You may sometimes need additional surgical procedures such as ligament reconstruction to improve the outcome.

Risks and Complications

As with all surgical procedures, trochleoplasty may be associated with certain complications such as infection, blood clot, damage to trochlear cartilage and overcorrection.

  • American Hip Institute
  • American Sports Medicine Institute
  • The University of Tennessee
  • University of South Carolina

Location & Directions

75 B Livingston Street
Asheville, NC 28801

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Practice Hours:
Monday to Friday: 08:00 To 16:30