MR imaging of the posterolateral corner of the knee

Skeletal Radiol. 2007 Aug;36(8):715-28. doi: 10.1007/s00256-006-0271-5. Epub 2007 Mar 2.


The posterolateral corner (PLC) is a complex functional unit, consisting of several structures, which is responsible for posterolateral stabilization. The PLC is not consistently defined in the literature. However, most descriptions include the popliteal tendon (PT), the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), the popliteofibular ligament (PFL) and the posterolateral capsule, which is reinforced by the arcuate ligament (AL) and the fabellofibular ligament (FFL). Knowledge of PLC anatomy, including its variations, and understanding of the biomechanics is important for correct diagnosis of PLC injuries. An overlooked PLC injury can result in chronic instability, chronic pain, and, eventually, in secondary osteoarthritis. Damage to the PLC also has an adverse effect on the outcome of cruciate ligament repair. Isolated lesions of the PLC are rare. PLC lesions are typically associated with injuries of the cruciate ligaments, the menisci, bone and soft tissue. In the acute phase, clinical findings can be difficult to interpret due to pain and swelling. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging potentially demonstrates the entire spectrum of PLC injuries and associated lesions of the knee, including those that may be overlooked during clinical examination or arthroscopy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / pathology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / anatomy & histology
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries
  • Ligaments, Articular / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Radiography
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnosis
  • Tendons / anatomy & histology
  • Tendons / pathology