Background: Understanding the relationship of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) to the femoral and tibial physes is important to reducing the risk of physeal injury during surgical reconstruction. The purpose of this study was to identify the location of the attachments of the PCL and LCL in skeletally immature cadaveric knee specimens and to determine their position relative to the physes.
Methods: Seven skeletally immature cadaveric knee specimens were examined through gross dissection. These specimens were divided into two groups: infants (an age at death of one month for one specimen and eleven months for two specimens) and children (an age at death of eight years for one specimen, ten years for one specimen, and eleven years for two specimens). Metallic markers were placed at the femoral origins of the PCL and LCL and at the tibial insertion of the PCL. Computed tomography (CT) scans were made for each specimen and analyzed with the use of OsiriX imaging software. The width of the PCL tibial insertion footprint and the height of the PCL femoral origin footprint, the distance from the midpoints of the PCL and LCL femoral origin to the distal femoral physis, and the distance from the PCL insertion footprint midpoint to the proximal tibial physis were measured.
Results: The mean distance from the midpoint of the femoral origin footprint of the PCL to the femoral physis was 11.1 mm (range, 10.6 to 11.7 mm) and 18.8 mm (range, 18.2 to 19.2 mm) distal to the physis for infants and children, respectively. The mean distance from the midpoint of the tibial insertion footprint of the PCL to the tibial physis was 3.1 mm (range, 0.0 to 5.7 mm) and 5.8 mm (range, 2.5 to 8.9 mm) proximal to the physis for infants and children, respectively. The mean width of the tibial insertion of the PCL was 5.5 mm (range, 1.1 to 8.3 mm) for infants and 10.2 mm (range, 8.4 to 11.9 mm) for children. The mean distance from the midpoint of the femoral origin of the LCL to the femoral physis was 6.3 mm (range, 3.9 to 7.7 mm) and 5.9 mm (range, 0.0 to 10.0 mm) distal to the physis for infants and children, respectively.
Conclusions: The relationship of the PCL and LCL attachments to physeal structures has not been well described. We found the midpoints of the PCL and LCL femoral origins at or distal to, and the midpoint of the PCL tibial insertion at or proximal to, the respective physis in all specimens. This study with CT-scan correlation provides unique information on the location of ligament attachments in relation to the physes.
Clinical Relevance: A better understanding of the spatial relationship between the PCL and LCL attachments and their respective physes may help guide drill-hole placement during ligament reconstructions and reduce the risk for iatrogenic physeal injury in skeletally immature patients.
1St. Luke’s Intermountain Orthopaedics, 600 West Robbins Road, Suite 100, Boise, ID 83702
2Rocky Mountain Youth Sports Medicine Institute, 14000 East Arapahoe Road, Suite 300, Centennial, CO 80112
3University of Utah School of Medicine, 30 North 1900 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84132. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
4Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Wood Building, 2nd floor, 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104