Tibial Tubercle-Midepicondyle Distance Can Be a Better Index to Predict the Outcome of Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction Than Tibial Tubercle-Trochlear Groove Distance

Arthrosc Sports Med Rehabil. 2020 Oct 16;2(6):e697-e704. doi: 10.1016/j.asmr.2020.04.014. eCollection 2020 Dec.


Purpose: To compare the clinical utility of tibial tubercle-midepicondyle (TT-ME) and tibial tubercle-trochlear groove (TT-TG) distances in predicting the risk for recurrent instability after isolated MPFL reconstruction.

Methods: A consecutive series of patients with recurrent patellar dislocation who underwent isolated MPFL reconstruction made up the study population. The patients were followed for a minimum of 2 years. In assessment of surgical outcome, the patient was deemed to exhibit "postoperative recurrent patellar instability" when ≥1 of the following 3 conditions was identified: redislocation, positive apprehension sign, and positive J-sign (manifestation of abnormal patellar tracking). As for radiological parameters for position of the tibial tubercle, TT-ME distance (transverse distance between the tibial tubercle and midpoint of the transepicondylar line) and TT-TG distance were measured on axial computed tomography images. The clinical utility as a factor to predict the outcome of MPFL reconstruction was compared between the 2 distances using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. In addition, various radiological indices potentially influencing the surgical outcome were subjected to multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Results: We examined 38 knees in 38 patients with a mean age at surgery of 17.6 years. Postoperative recurrent patellar instability was encountered in 8 of the 38 knees. The ROC curve analysis showed the TT-ME distance to be a significantly better indicator in predicting surgical outcome than the TT-TG distance (P = .001). The univariate analysis for radiological factors demonstrated that the TT-ME distance was significantly associated with postoperative recurrent patellar instability (odds ratio 1.42, P = .012) whereas all other factors including the TT-TG distance did not correlate with recurrent instability. The multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that only the TT-ME distance was significantly associated with recurrent instability (P = .035).

Conclusions: Analysis of our patient population undergoing isolated MPFL reconstruction showed that the TT-ME distance was a significantly better indicator than the TT-TG distance to predict the risk for recurrent instability after isolated MPFL reconstruction performed for patellar instability.

Level of evidence: Level IV, therapeutic case series.