A new standard radiographic reference for proximal fibular height in children

Adrien Frommer, Maike Niemann, Georg Gosheger, Gregor Toporowski, Andrea Laufer, Maria Eveslage, Jan Niklas Bröking, Robert Rödl, Bjoern Vogt
Acta Orthopaedica 2020 May 26, : 1-6
Background and purpose - To date there is a lack of studies defining the anatomical position of the proximal fibula. This is especially relevant when planning surgical interventions affecting the knee joint such as permanent or temporary epiphysiodesis to correct leg length discrepancies or angular deformities in growing patients. The goal of this study is to establish a standardized measurement technique and radiological reference values for the position of the proximal fibula in children.Patients and methods - 500 measurements were performed in calibrated long standing anteroposterior radiographs of 256 skeletally immature patients (8-16 years; 233 female, 267 male legs). As a radiographic reference in the frontal plane, the distance between the center of the proximal tibial growth plate and a line tangential to the tip of the fibular head and horizontal to the imaging plane was measured (dPTFH).Results - The average value of dPTFH in the studied population (median age 12 years) was -2.7 mm (SD 3, CI -3.0 to -2.5) and normally distributed (p = 0.1). There were no clinically significant sex or age-dependent differences. The inter-rater reliability analysis showed excellent ICC values (ICC = 0.88; CI 0.77-0.93).Interpretation - This study provides a new radiographic reference value to assess the position of the proximal fibula in relation to the proximal tibia in children and adolescents. This reference can aid preoperative decision-making as to whether additional fibular epiphysiodesis is necessary when performing tibial epiphysiodesis to correct moderate leg-length discrepancies.

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