What is the anatomy of plica syndrome during embryonic development?

Updated: Apr 20, 2020
  • Author: Tracy Lee Bigelow, DO; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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During embryonic development, the knee is divided initially by synovial membranes into three separate compartments. By the third or fourth month of fetal life, the membranes are resorbed, and the knee becomes a single chamber. If the membranes resorb incompletely, various degrees of septation may persist. These embryonic remnants are known as synovial plicae. Four types of synovial plicae of the knee have been described in the literature. [7, 8]

The suprapatellar plica (plica synovialis suprapatellaris) divides the suprapatellar pouch from the remainder of the knee. Rarely, it may initiate a suprapatellar bursitis or perhaps chondromalacia, and symptoms secondary to these conditions may be present. [9] Anatomically, this plica can be complete or in the form of a porta, which only partially separates the compartments. It courses from the anterior femoral metaphysis or the posterior quadriceps tendon to the medial wall of the joint. It usually begins proximal to the superior pole of the patella but may begin anywhere.

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