Background Although many studies have investigated the anatomy of the Medial Patello-Femoral Ligament (MPFL), some studies have even questioned its existence. In the last 20 years, there is a renewed interest on the role of the MPFL in patello-femoral instability. As a result, several studies have been published that describe the anatomy, function and possible surgical reconstruction of the MPFL. Despite the large amount of literature produced, there is still a lack of consensus on what is its real anatomy as there are currently no systematic reviews on this topic. Purposes Thus, the aim of this review is to systematically report the results in literature regarding in anatomical papers, the existence, size, insertion sites and relationships of this ligament with the other medial structures of the knee. Methods We have systematically analyzed anatomical studies currently available in literature between 1980 and December 2012. The search was carried out on Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar. We checked reference lists of articles, reviews and textbooks identified by the search strategy for other possible relevant studies. Results The outcomes examined are the presence of the ligament, its size (length, width, thickness), and its patellar and femoral insertions. A total of 312 cadaveric knees were included in the 17 studies; the MPFL was identified in 99 % of cases (309). Conclusions The consensus is that the MPFL is almost always present in the dissected knees. The size and insertions of the ligament demonstrate great variation between cadavers.