Lateral retinacular releaseA lateral retinacular release is a arthroscopic surgical procedure, which helps in the realignment of the kneecap or patella bone as it is also known. The patella has a tendency to move up and down in groove at the end of the femur as the knee bends. In some patients the patella tends to get unhooked awkwardly from this groove, and as result the knee cap does not slide smoothly over the groove. This eventually leads to irritation of the cartilage and an eventual inflammation which can result in excruciating pain. There are several reasons for this patellar maltracking as it is also known; the most common of these is a tight tissue attached to the outside of the patella called the retinaculum, hence the name lateral retinacular release.When you go to a orthopedician with a painful knee, he or she will look for various underlying problems that could exist with the basic mechanics of your knee joint. He will assess weather the patellar tilt or the angle at which your knee cap is placed, is not overtly acute or excessively tilted by a tight retinaculum, he will also assess for patellar subluxation which occurs when the kneecap is pulled off its groove due to malalignment. The procedure of lateral release is best for patients have excessive patellar tilt as a result of a tight retinaculum. The procedure entails cutting of the retinaculum to allow for the knee to sit properly along its groove.The procedure entails cutting of the tight lateral ligaments to allow for eventual normal tracking of the patell along its groove. The surgeon firstly makes a small incision in the retinaculum itself through the arthroscope, he then cuts the ligament laterally to the patella to allow for it to slide forward and toward the centre of the femoral groove. The ligaments that are cut eventually heal with the formation of a scar tissue in the gap created by the surgery itself. The surgery itself is not a lengthy procedure and lasts only 30 to 45 min and is performed under a local anesthetic. The complete recovery of the patient could last for 12 to 16 weeks after extensive physiotherapy and also depending on a patients individual progress. Immediately after the surgery the patient will be required to use crutches for about 5 days to not put any unwanted stress on the knee itself. To ensure swift and speedy recovery post procedure complete rest and immobilization is recommended. Most patients can resume total normal activities after a period of 16 weeks even though complete recovery may take as much as one year. Complications may arise due to unexpected bleeding within the joint , or overly extensive physical therapy. A patient may require to take analgesic medication immediately after the surgery, but after complete recovery no medication is required. One should remember that a prompt follow up with your surgeon should be arranged if you find your nee swelling up or ever increasing pain is felt.