Gross, Arthroscopic, and Radiographic Anatomies of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament: Foundations for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Surgery

Clin Sports Med. 2017 Jan;36(1):9-23. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2016.08.002. Epub 2016 Oct 15.


The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the more studied structures in the knee joint. It is not a tubular structure, but is much narrower in its midsubstance and broader at its ends, producing an hourglass shape. The ACL is composed of 2 functional bundles, the anteromedial and posterolateral bundles, that are named for their location of insertion on the anterior surface of the tibial plateau. Although the relative contribution in terms of total cross-sectional area of the ACL has been noted to be equal in regards to each bundle, dynamically these bundles demonstrate different properties for knee function.

Keywords: Anatomy; Anterior cruciate ligament; Arthroscopy; Double bundle; Embryology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / anatomy & histology*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / diagnostic imaging
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / pathology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction*
  • Arthroscopy*
  • Humans
  • Radiography