COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

The localization of the infrapatellar nerves in the anterior knee region with special emphasis on central third patellar tendon harvest: a dissection study on cadaver and amputated specimens

J Kartus, L Ejerhed, B I Eriksson, J Karlsson
Arthroscopy 1999, 15 (6): 577-86
10495173
The aim of this dissection study on cadaver and amputated specimens was to determine the position of the infrapatellar nerves in the anterior knee region, and to investigate whether it would be possible to harvest the patellar tendon through two small vertical incisions, leaving the infrapatellar nerves undamaged and the major part of the paratenon intact. The infrapatellar nerve did not pass through the area between the apex of the patella and the tibial tubercle in 1 of 60 specimens. The nerve passed through this area as one branch in 15 of 60 specimens, as two branches in 37 of 60, as three in 6 of 60, and as four in 1 of 60 specimens. The distance from the apex of the patella to the infrapatellar nerve or the uppermost branch of the nerve was 30 mm (+/- 27 mm [2 SD]). The distance from the tibial tubercle to the infrapatellar nerve or the lowermost branch of the nerve was 27 mm (+/- 27 mm [2 SD]). In one specimen, the infrapatellar nerve passed 10 mm distal to the tibial tubercle. In 4 of 60 specimens, a branch of the infrapatellar nerve passed just above the tibial tubercle, and in 2 of 60 a branch passed just above the apex of the patella. In 19 of 20 specimens in which the harvesting procedure was performed, the infrapatellar nerve or the nerve branches were undamaged. The length of the undamaged paratenon was 27 mm (+/- 23 mm [2 SD]). This study showed that it was possible to harvest consistent bone-patellar tendon-bone autografts through two vertical 25-mm incisions, leaving the infrapatellar nerve undamaged and the paratenon partially intact in the majority of the cadaver and amputated specimens.

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