Location of the Popliteal Artery in Knee Extension on Magnetic Resonance Imaging

J Surg Orthop Adv. 2018 Winter;27(4):325-328.


The goal of this study was to define the course of the popliteal artery (PA) and determine any variability among different patient demographics; by identifying risk factors for injury, surgeons can decrease patient morbidity and mortality. Ninety-four adult magnetic resonance imaging studies of the knee were reviewed. In extension, the artery is at most 7.87 mm posterior and 4.83 mm lateral to the midline below the tibial plateau. Proximally, the artery is more anterior and midline. With increasing body mass indexes, the artery is more posterior at any level. At the femur, 1 cm above the distal articular surface, the artery was more posterior in younger patients; 1 cm below the joint line, it was more posterior in elder patients. Attention should be given during total knee arthroplasty, revision surgery, lateral meniscal repair, posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, high tibial osteotomy, and fixation of tibial tubercle fractures. Proximally, the PA is more anterior and midline, placing it at significant risk during these procedures. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 27(4):325-328, 2018).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Knee / blood supply
  • Knee / diagnostic imaging*
  • Knee Joint / blood supply
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Orthopedic Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Popliteal Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Popliteal Artery / injuries
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Tibia / diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular System Injuries / etiology
  • Vascular System Injuries / prevention & control