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No correlation between femoral tunnel orientation and clinical outcome at long-term follow-up after non-anatomic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

Journal article
Authors David Sundemo
Julia Mårtensson
Eric Hamrin Senorski
Eleonor Svantesson
Jüri Kartus
Ninni Sernert
Jón Karlsson
Kristian Samuelsson
Published in Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Volume 27
Issue 11
Pages 3400–3410
ISSN 0942-2056
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Pages 3400–3410
Language en
Keywords Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, Femoral tunnel angle, Osteoarthritis, Outcome, Quadrant method, Radiographs, Surgery
Subject categories Orthopedics


Purpose: This study aimed to determine the influence of femoral tunnel orientation on long-term clinical outcome and osteoarthritis in patients undergoing ACL reconstruction and to test the reliability of the implemented radiographic measurement methods. It was hypothesized that a more horizontal femoral tunnel would correlate with superior clinical outcome. Methods: A cohort of 193 patients who underwent non-anatomic ACL reconstruction was examined. In this specific study, non-anatomic is defined by the surgeons’ pursuit of optimal isometry, not to emulate the native ACL anatomy. At follow-up, the Lachman test, the KT-1000, the pivot-shift test, the one-leg-hop test and the IKDC-2000 were evaluated. Osteoarthritis was evaluated radiographically. Posteroanterior and lateral radiographs were used to determine the position of the femoral tunnel in the coronal and sagittal planes and the angle of the tunnel in the coronal plane. A method for determining femoral rotation on the lateral radiographs was developed and its reliability was evaluated. The femoral tunnel orientation was analyzed to examine its influence on clinical outcome and osteoarthritis. Results: A total of 101 patients were analyzed at a mean of 16.4 (± 1.3) years postoperatively. The reliability of the measurement methods was regarded as good to excellent (ICC 0.57–0.97). The mean coronal femoral tunnel angle was 9.6° (± 9.4°). The coronal femoral tunnel was positioned at a mean of 43% (± 3.5%) of the distance measured from lateral to medial. The mean sagittal femoral tunnel position, measured using the quadrant method, was 40% (± 6.4%) from posterior to anterior. No significant associations were found between tunnel orientation and the clinical outcome variables. Conclusions: The orientation of the femoral tunnel did not predict the long-term subjective outcome, functional outcome or the development of osteoarthritis in patients undergoing non-anatomic ACL reconstruction. The method for determining femoral rotation on lateral radiographs was found to be reliable. Level of evidence: Retrospective cohort study, level of evidence IV.

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Utskriftsdatum: 2019-12-13