Oblique Femoral Tunnel Placement Can Increase Risks of Short Femoral Tunnel and Cross-Pin Protrusion in Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

ArticleinThe American Journal of Sports Medicine 38(6):1237-45 · March 2010with12 Reads
DOI: 10.1177/0363546509357608 · Source: PubMed
A more horizontal femoral tunnel has been emphasized for contemporary anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. However, lowering the femoral tunnel may result in a shorter tunnel. In addition, a more horizontally placed femoral tunnel may have inadequate bone stock at the posterior portion of the tunnel, which can lead to protrusion of the cross-pin (Rigidfix) system for femoral fixation. A more horizontal femoral tunnel position, particularly via the anteromedial (AM) portal technique, will reduce femoral tunnel length, and a more horizontal femoral tunnel position and anterior-to-posterior pin insertion will increase the risk of Rigidfix pin protrusion. Controlled laboratory study. In 10 cadaveric knees, we measured maximum lengths of the femoral tunnels at the positions of 11:30, 10:30, and 9:30 o'clock using the transtibial technique and at the 10:30 and 9:30 o'clock using the AM portal technique. Then, for each femoral tunnel via the transtibial technique at 11:30, 10:30, and 9:30 o'clock positions, tests were performed for 3 directions of Rigidfix pin insertion using the lateral epicondyle as an anatomical landmark, namely, 15 degrees anterior to posterior (A-P), neutral, and 15 degrees posterior to anterior (P-A). It was then determined whether pins protruded from the posterior cortex. The lengths of femoral tunnels produced using the transtibial technique became shorter as the femoral starting position became more horizontal (51.1 mm, 40.0 mm, and 34.2 mm on average at the 11:30, 10:30, and 9:30 o'clock position, respectively). Tunnels made using the AM portal technique were significantly shorter than those made using the transtibial technique: by 7.6 mm at the 10:30 o'clock and 4.5 mm at the 9:30 o'clock positions on average (P < .001). In addition, increasing obliquity increased the likelihood of Rigidfix pin protrusion, especially when pins were inserted in the A-P direction. The current effort to lower the femoral tunnel position in ACL reconstruction can shorten the tunnel length and compromise the graft fixation at the femur using the Rigidfix system. When an intended femoral tunnel position is more horizontal than the 10:30 o'clock position for ACL reconstruction, a surgeon needs to be cautious regarding a short femoral tunnel, particularly when using the AM portal technique, and possible protrusion of the cross-pin (Rigidfix) fixator.
    • "Previous studies have reported that the transportal technique shortens the available length of the femoral tunnel [6, 10, 24]. More recently, Chang et al. [6] reported that femoral tunnel lengths with AM portal drilling averaged 32.4 mm in a cadaveric study of 10 knees. Ilahi et al. [15] concluded that the mean femoral tunnel length with FAM portal drilling was 35.6 mm. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The success of ACL reconstruction is predicated on a variety of factors. Tunnel placement plays one of the most significant roles in achieving knee kinematics and function. The purposes of this study were to compare femoral tunnel position, angle, length and posterior wall blow-out after ACL reconstruction with hamstring tendons autograft through either a farmedial portal or an anteromedial portal technique. We evaluated 36 patients who underwent ACL reconstruction between January 2014 and July 2014 in our institute, in a prospective, randomised cohort study. All the surgical procedures were performed by a sports fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon with experience in both portal reaming. The operated knees were evaluated with 0.5 mm fine CT scans of 3-D CT between days 3 and 5 postoperatively. According to the 3-D CT measurements, the mean femoral tunnel length was significantly longer (p < 0.05) in the FAM group compared with the AM group. The femoral bone tunnel length averaged 34.2 ± 3.6 mm versus 36.6 ± 3.0 mm (p = 0.042) in AM and the FAM groups, respectively. The femoral tunnel position, as evaluated with use of the quadrant method, was more anterior in the FAM transportal technique group, and the difference between the two groups was significant (p < 0.05). FAM tranportal drilling of the femoral tunnel creates longer and anterior femoral tunnels with regard to the AM portal drilling techniques. Additional studies with clinical outcomes are required for the clinical relevance of these techniques and to show which one is superior. Level I, prospective randomised comparative cohort study.
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