Increased lateral tibial slope predicts high-grade rotatory knee laxity pre-operatively in ACL reconstruction

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2017 Apr;25(4):1170-1176. doi: 10.1007/s00167-016-4157-3. Epub 2016 May 6.


Purpose: To determine the influence of anatomical features of both the tibia and femur on quantitative pivot shift of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)-injured patients.

Methods: Fifty-three consecutive ACL-injured patients (mean age 26 ± 10.1 years, 36 males) who underwent ACL reconstruction were prospectively enrolled. Two blinded observers measured the parameters of medial and lateral tibial slope, femoral condyle width, notch width, bicondylar width and tibial plateau width on magnetic resonance imaging. The same examiner performed pivot shift under anaesthesia, while a previously validated image analysis technique was used to quantify knee kinematics during examination. The median lateral compartment translation detected during pivot shift testing (2.8 mm) was used to classify patients into "low-grade rotatory laxity" (≤2.8 mm) and "high-grade rotatory laxity" (>2.8 mm) groups.

Results: Twenty-nine subjects were grouped as "low-grade rotatory laxity", and 24 subjects were grouped as "high-grade rotatory laxity". Of the tested bone morphologic parameters, lateral tibial plateau slope was significantly greater in "high-grade rotatory laxity" group (9.3° ± 3.4°) compared to "low-grade rotatory laxity" group (6.1° ± 3.7°) (p < 0.05). Lateral tibial plateau slope was a significant predictor of "high-grade rotatory laxity" (odds ratio 1.27, p < 0.05). A tibial slope of 9° and greater predicted "high-grade rotatory laxity" (sensitivity 63 %; specificity 72 %).

Conclusion: Increased slope of the lateral tibial plateau might be an important anatomical variable predicting high-grade rotatory laxity in patients with ACL injury. The finding can be useful in the clinical setting in predicting potential non-copers to conservative therapy and aid in the individualization of the reconstructive procedures of patients.

Level of evidence: Prospective diagnostic study, Level II.

Keywords: ACL; Anterior cruciate ligament; Bone morphology; Pivot shift; Rotatory laxity; Tibial plateau slope.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis*
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Preoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rotation