PURPOSE: While a significant research has gone into identifying patients at highest risk of recurrence following primary patellar dislocation, there has been little work exploring the outcomes of patients who do not have a recurrent patellar dislocation. We hypothesize that patients without recurrent dislocation episodes will exhibit significantly higher KOOSs than those who suffer recurrent dislocations, but lower scores than published age-matched normative data. METHODS: A retrospective review of patients with nonoperatively treated primary lateral patellar dislocations was carried out, and patients were contacted at a mean of 3.4 years (range 1.3-5.5 years) post-injury. Information regarding subsequent treatment and recurrent dislocations along with patient-reported outcome scores and activity level was collected. RESULTS: One hundred and eleven patients (29.8 %) of 373 eligible patients agreed to study participation, seven of whom were excluded because they underwent subsequent patellar stabilization surgery on the index knee. Seventy-six patients (73.1 %) reported no further dislocation events, and the mean KOOS subscales at follow-up were: symptoms-80.2 +/- 18.8, pain-81.8 +/- 16.2, ADL-88.7 +/- 15.9, sport/recreation-72.1 +/- 24.4, and QOL-63.9 +/- 23.8 at a mean follow-up of 3.3 years (range 1.3-5.5 years). No significant differences in any of the KOOS subscales were noted between these patients and the group that reported recurrent patellar dislocations. Only 26.4 % of the patients without further dislocations reported they were able to return to desired sport activities without limitations following their dislocation. CONCLUSION: Patients who do not report recurrent patellar dislocations following nonoperative treatment of primary patellar dislocations are in many cases limited by this injury 3 years following the initial dislocation event. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Retrospective cohort study, Level III.