Relationship of the Intercondylar Roof and the Tibial Footprint of the ACL Implications for ACL Reconstruction

Department of Orthopaedics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
The American Journal of Sports Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.36). 12/2012; 41(2). DOI: 10.1177/0363546512467955
Source: PubMed


BACKGROUND:Debate exists on the proper relation of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) footprint with the intercondylar notch in anatomic ACL reconstructions. Patient-specific graft placement based on the inclination of the intercondylar roof has been proposed. The relationship between the intercondylar roof and native ACL footprint on the tibia has not previously been quantified. HYPOTHESIS:No statistical relationship exists between the intercondylar roof angle and the location of the native footprint of the ACL on the tibia. STUDY DESIGN:Case series; Level of evidence, 4. METHODS:Knees from 138 patients with both lateral radiographs and MRI, without a history of ligamentous injury or fracture, were reviewed to measure the intercondylar roof angle of the femur. Roof angles were measured on lateral radiographs. The MRI data of the same knees were analyzed to measure the position of the central tibial footprint of the ACL (cACL). The roof angle and tibial footprint were evaluated to determine if statistical relationships existed. RESULTS:Patients had a mean ± SD age of 40 ± 16 years. Average roof angle was 34.7° ± 5.2° (range, 23°-48°; 95% CI, 33.9°-35.5°), and it differed by sex but not by side (right/left). The cACL was 44.1% ± 3.4% (range, 36.1%-51.9%; 95% CI, 43.2%-45.0%) of the anteroposterior length of the tibia. There was only a weak correlation between the intercondylar roof angle and the cACL (R = 0.106). No significant differences arose between subpopulations of sex or side. CONCLUSION:The tibial footprint of the ACL is located in a position on the tibia that is consistent and does not vary according to intercondylar roof angle. The cACL is consistently located between 43.2% and 45.0% of the anteroposterior length of the tibia. Intercondylar roof-based guidance may not predictably place a tibial tunnel in the native ACL footprint. Use of a generic ACL footprint to place a tibial tunnel during ACL reconstruction may be reliable in up to 95% of patients.

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