- The kneecap by another name, the patella is the small bone that is in the front of the knee. The patella is a sesamoid bone, a little bone (sesamoid = like a sesame seed) that is embedded in a joint capsule or tendon, in this case the tendon of insertion of the quadriceps muscle (the "quad"). The patella in an adult is about 2 inches (5 cm) across. If the patella is shattered beyond repair, it can be removed. The operation is termed a patellectomy. Patella is a Latin word that referred to a "small pan, dish or plate." As a saucer, the patella is quite paltry and cannot have held much.
* * *The large sesamoid bone, in the combined tendon of the extensors of the leg, covering the anterior surface of the knee. SYN: kneecap. [L. a small plate, the kneecap, dim. of patina, a shallow disk, fr. pateo, to lie open]- p. alta term used to describe a somewhat more proximal position of the p. than anticipated when it is visualized on a lateral radiograph of the knee. [p. + L. alta, high]- p. baja term used to describe a somewhat more distal position of the p. than anticipated when it is visualized on a lateral radiograph of the knee. [p. + Sp. baja, low]
* * *pa·tel·la pə-'tel-ə n, pl -lae -'tel-(.)ē, -.ī or -las a thick flat triangular movable bone that forms the anterior point of the knee, protects the front of the joint, increases the leverage of the quadriceps, and is usu. regarded as a sesamoid bone since it is developed in the tendon of the quadriceps and in structure is similar to other sesamoid bones called also kneecap, kneepanpa·tel·lar -ər adj
* * *n.the lens-shaped bone that forms the kneecap. It is situated in front of the knee in the tendon of the quadriceps muscle of the thigh. See also sesamoid bone.
* * *pa·tel·la (pə-telґə) [L., dim of patera a shallow dish] [TA] a triangular sesamoid bone, about 5 cm in diameter, situated at the front of the knee in the tendon of insertion of the quadriceps extensor femoris muscle. Called also knee cap. patellar adj
Patella. Left patella shown in anterior (A) and posterior (B) aspects.
Medical dictionary. 2011.