You'll need to see an orthopedic surgeon to assess the problem. Your age, general health, and activity level will be taken into consideration. Tests will be done on your knee and X-rays will be taken.
Once this information has been collected, the surgeon will be able to advise you. Sometimes a rehab program can restore normal biomechanics and balance strength. The result is a stable knee that doesn't dislocate with normal, everyday activities.
But if the soft tissues around the knee are damaged from the repeated trauma of dislocation, then surgery may be needed to gain permanent stability. There are many different surgical procedures for this problem.
The medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) is the main soft tissue that holds the patella (knee cap) in place. An overly tight band of tissue along the outside edge of the patella can also pull the knee cap over. This band is called the lateral retinaculum.
Surgery usually addresses both of these problems. The lateral retinaculum may be released (if too tight). The MPFL can be reconstructed and realigned to balance the patella and prevent future dislocations.
It's important to get the right amount of tension between these two soft tissue structures. Too much tension on the MPFL can put pressure on the patella and cause patellofemoral osteoarthritis (OA). Surgeons are working hard to find the best method to prevent both problems of recurrent dislocations and the development of OA after surgery.