Transepicondylar Distance Can Predict Graft and Tunnel Length for Different Pediatric Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Techniques: A Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study


      To find a correlation and mathematical formulas between a linear 2-dimensional (2D) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measurement around the knee and the length of the grafts and tunnels required for both all-inside-all-epiphyseal and Kocher–Micheli pediatric anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction techniques.


      At time 0 and 30 days after, 2 observers measured: (1) on standard 2D knee MRI, 7 linear distances, representing morphologic measurements, such as transepicondylar distance (TD), and (2) on 3-dimensional (3D) MRI, 5 curved distances, corresponding to Kocher–Micheli and all-epiphyseal ACL reconstruction techniques. Intra- and interobserver reliability was tested for all measurements. The correlation between 2D and 3D measurements was tested. The 2D measurement with highest repeatability and reproducibility and with strongest correlation with 3D measurements was used to extract formulas to calculate the tunnel and graft length for the 2 techniques.


      Seventy-six MRIs were used. The intra- and interobserver reliability of 2D measurement was high, with TD showing the highest reproducibility and repeatability. 3D measurements also showed good intra and inter-observer reliability. A linear correlation was found between 2D and 3D measurements, with TD showing the strongest correlation. TD was used to extract formulas to calculate graft or tunnel length for Kocher–Micheli and all-epiphyseal ACL reconstruction. All formulas were proven to be accurate. A reference chart was also created to be used in the surgical setting.


      With specific formulas, TD can be used to calculate the length of the tunnels, intra-articular portion and graft length for an all-inside all-epiphyseal pediatric ACL reconstruction and the length of the iliotibial band required for the Kocher–Micheli technique.

      Clinical Relevance

      The surgeon can use these formulas in pediatric ACL reconstruction preoperative planning, graft harvesting and tunnel drilling.
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