Radiological study of the knee joint line position measured from the fibular head and proximal tibial landmarks

Eric Havet, Antoine Gabrion, Frederic Leiber-Wackenheim, Joël Vernois, Bruno Olory, Patrice Mertl
Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy: SRA 2007, 29 (4): 285-9
Restoring the joint line level is one of the surgical challenges during revision of total knee arthroplasty. The position of the tibial surface is commonly estimated by its distance to the apex of fibular head, but no study evaluating this distance accurately has been published yet. The purpose of this work was to study the distance between the knee joint line and the apex of the fibular head and the proximal tibia, particularly the tibial tuberosity. Variability with clinical data and relations with other local measurements have been evaluated on knee radiographs (an antero-posterior view, a medio-lateral view and an anteroposterior full length view) of 100 subjects (125 knees). Results showed no correlation between the joint line-fibular head apex distance and any clinical data of the patients, or any other performed measurements. Relations between tibial measurements and the sexe or the height of the subjects were noted. Besides, the review of the 25 bilateral cases did not show statistically significant side difference but the descriptive analysis showed too large discrepancies for the joint line-fibular head apex distance to be used as a landmark. We conclude that the fibular head apex cannot be used as a morphologic landmark to determine the knee joint line position. Its interest in clinical and surgical practice must be discussed.

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