PURPOSE: The purpose of this investigation was to determine current views regarding lateral release among experienced knee surgeons with a specific interest in the patellofemoral joint. TYPE OF STUDY: Scientific survey. METHODS: A questionnaire was developed and mailed to all members of an international group with a specific interest in disorders of the patellofemoral joint. Frequencies and percentages of responses were calculated for each question to determine surgeon consensus. We measured agreement among responses using the kappa statistic. This provided an indication of consistency for each question as well as correlation among the responses to different questions. RESULTS: The survey response rate was 60%. Isolated lateral release was estimated to account for only 1 to 5 surgical cases per respondent per year, or 2% of cases performed annually. In the setting of arthroscopy or exploration, 74% of respondents believed that lateral release calls for specific informed consent. Strong consensus was found that objective evidence is needed to justify lateral release, but agreement was poor as to what clinical evidence provides the most appropriate indication for the procedure. CONCLUSIONS: Even among experienced knee surgeons with a special interest in diseases of the patellofemoral articulation, isolated lateral release is rarely performed. Strong consensus was found that isolated lateral release should not be undertaken without prior planning in the form of objective clinical indications and preoperative informed consent.