The purpose of this study is to describe complications affecting the patella in patients with total or partial knee arthroplasty. We respectively analysed plain-film radiographs, as well as ultrasound images when acquired, in a consecutive series of 1272 patients. The mean interval from knee replacement to patellar complications was 5 years and 7 months (range, 5 months to 14 years). The complications described include fracture, instability, dislocation or luxation, necrosis of the patella, infection of the patella, erosion of the patella, patellar impingement on the prosthesis and patellar or quadricipital tendon tear. We discuss the pathological imaging findings in the patella and their differential diagnosis after knee arthroplasty. Patellar complications after knee arthroplasty are uncommon but often potentially serious.