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Reliability of the Tibial Spine Versus ACL Stump in Assisting Tibial Tunnel Positioning During ACL Reconstruction: Analysis Based on 3-Dimensional Computed Tomography Modeling.

BACKGROUND: Several techniques have been used by surgeons for anatomic tibial tunnel placement in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, including the ACL stump positioning (ASP) technique and the tibial spine positioning (TSP) technique.

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether bony landmarks (medial and lateral tibial spine [MLTS]) can be a reliable reference for improving the accuracy of tibial tunnel placement in anatomic single-bundle ACL reconstruction compared with the ACL stump. It was hypothesized that the MLTS would not be a reliable bony landmark for tibial tunnel placement.

STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS: The 3-dimensional computed tomography images of 111 patients who underwent ACL reconstruction between 2020 and 2021 were included in this study. For tibial tunnel placement, the ASP technique was used in 49 patients, and the TSP technique was used in 62 patients. The 3-dimensional computed tomography images were reconstructed to enable measurements of the locations of the MLTS and tunnel center based on a grid method. Statistical analysis was conducted to compare the MLTS location and tibial tunnel position as well as the accuracy (mean distance of each actual location from the anatomic center) and precision (standard deviation of the accuracy, indicating the reproducibility of the tunnel position) of the tunnel position between the ASP and TSP groups.

RESULTS: Significant differences were observed between the ASP and TSP groups in terms of the tibial tunnel position on the mediolateral axis (46.7% ± 2.0% vs 45.9% ± 2.2%, respectively; P = .034), while no significant differences were found in terms of the accuracy (4.1% vs 4.6%, respectively; P = .259) or precision (2.1% vs 2.1%, respectively; P = .259) of tibial tunnel positioning between the 2 groups.

CONCLUSION: In anatomic single-bundle ACL reconstruction, the use of the MLTS for tibial tunnel placement achieved comparable accuracy and precision compared with the use of ACL remnants, supporting its role as a reliable bony landmark in tibial tunnel positioning.

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