Studies with a low level of evidence (LOE) have dominated the top cited research in many areas of orthopaedics. The wide range of treatment options for patellar instability necessitates an investigation to determine the types of studies that drive clinical practice.To determine (1) the top 50 most cited articles on patellar instability and (2) the correlation between the number of citations and LOE or methodological quality.Cross-sectional study.The Scopus and Web of Science databases were assessed to determine the top 50 most cited articles on patellar instability between 1985 and 2019. Bibliographic information, number of citations, and LOE were collected. Methodological quality was calculated using the Modified Coleman Methodology Score (MCMS) and the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS). Mean citations and mean citation density (citations per year) were correlated with LOE, MCMS, and MINORS scores.Most studies were cadaveric (n = 10; 20.0%), published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (n = 13; 26.0%), published between 2000 and 2009 (n = 41; 82.0%), and conducted in the United States (n = 17; 34.0%). The mean number of citations and the citation density were 158.61 ± 59.53 (range, 95.5-400.5) and 12.74 ± 5.12, respectively. The mean MCMS and MINORS scores were 59.62 ± 12.58 and 16.24 ± 3.72, respectively. No correlation was seen between mean number of citations or citation density versus LOE. A significant difference was found in the mean LOE of articles published between 1990 and 1999 (5.0 ± 0) versus those published between 2000 and 2009 (3.12 ± 1.38; P = .03) and between 2010 and 2019 (3.00 ± 1.10; P = .01).There was a shift in research from anatomy toward outcomes in patellar instability; however, these articles demonstrated low LOE and methodological quality. Higher quality studies are necessary to establish informed standards of management of patellar instability.
View details for DOI 10.1177/2325967120972016
View details for PubMedID 33614793
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7869164