Stress Radiography for the Diagnosis of Knee Ligament Injuries: A Systematic Review

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (Impact Factor: 2.77). 02/2014; 472(9). DOI: 10.1007/s11999-014-3470-8
Source: PubMed


Stress radiography is a widely used diagnostic tool to assess injury to the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and the medial and lateral structures of the knee. However, to date, numerous techniques have been reported in the literature with no clear consensus as to which methodology is best for assessing ligament stability.
The purpose of this review was to identify which stress radiographic techniques have support in the literature for the diagnosis of acute or chronic knee ligament injuries, to define which technique is most accurate and reliable for diagnosing knee ligament injuries, and to compare the use of stress radiography with other diagnostic tests.
Two independent reviewers performed a systematic review of PubMed (MEDLINE), the EMBASE library, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register for English language studies published from January 1970 to August 2013 on the diagnosis of knee ligament injuries using stress radiography. Information describing the ligament(s) investigated, stress radiographic technique, magnitude of force, measures of accuracy and reliability, and comparative diagnostic tests were extracted. Risk of bias was assessed using the QUADAS-2 tool.
A total of 16 stress techniques were described for stress radiography of the knee. The diagnostic accuracy of stress radiography including the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values varied considerably depending on the technique and choice of displacement or gapping threshold. Excellent reliability was reported for the diagnosis of anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, varus, and valgus knee injuries. Inconsistencies were found across studies regarding the efficacy of stress radiography compared with other diagnostic modalities.
Based on the multitude of stress techniques reported, varying levels of diagnostic accuracy, and inconsistencies regarding comparative efficacy of stress radiography to other diagnostic modalities, we are not able to make specific recommendations with regard to the best stress radiography technique for the diagnosis of knee ligament injuries. Additional comparative studies using consistent methodology and appropriate blinding are necessary to further define differences in accuracy and reliability both among stress radiography techniques and between stress radiography and other diagnostic tests.
Level III, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Download full-text


Available from: Robert F LaPrade, May 09, 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The standard radiographic series is not always sufficient to diagnose and characterize subtle musculoskeletal injuries. Missed or delayed diagnoses can negatively affect patient acute morbidity and long-term outcomes. Similarly, management based on erroneous diagnoses may lead to unnecessary treatment and restrictions. Body-part- or joint-specific supplemental radiographic views and stress radiography offer an alternative for further evaluation of subtle injuries in specific clinical situations and may obviate the need for the added cost and potential ionizing radiation exposure of further cross-sectional imaging. Familiarity with these complementary exams allows radiologists to play an important role in patient care, as their utilization can improve diagnostic accuracy, clarify subtle or uncertain findings, and direct timely patient management. This review highlights important supplemental views and stress radiographic examinations useful in the evaluation of emergent lower extremity musculoskeletal trauma.
    Emergency Radiology 04/2015; 22(5). DOI:10.1007/s10140-015-1315-8
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is the most commonly injured knee ligament. Most will heal well with nonoperative treatment. However, not all medial knee injuries are the same. A detailed physical examination can help determine the severity of the medial-sided injury. When combined with advanced imaging, the examination will delineate damage to associated medial knee structures, including the location of MCL damage, posteromedial capsule injuries, and combined cruciate injuries. Failure to recognize MCL injuries that may be prone to chronic laxity can lead to significant disability, joint damage, and failure of concomitant cruciate ligament reconstructions. Magnetic resonance imaging is the mainstay of diagnostic imaging, with coronal sequences allowing full assessment of the MCL complex. Tangential views aid in the diagnosis of concomitant injuries. Stress radiography can play a role in evaluating MCL healing and subtle chronic laxity. Ultrasonography is also gaining acceptance as a means to assess MCL injuries. Use of a detailed examination and advanced imaging will allow optimal treatment of medial knee injuries and improve clinical outcomes.
    Sports medicine and arthroscopy review 05/2015; 23(2):e1-e6. DOI:10.1097/JSA.0000000000000066 · 1.68 Impact Factor