Clinical Anatomy of the Anterior Meniscofemoral Ligament of Humphrey: An Original MRI Study, Meta-analysis, and Systematic Review

Orthop J Sports Med. 2021 Feb 22;9(2):2325967120973192. doi: 10.1177/2325967120973192. eCollection 2021 Feb.


Background: The anterior meniscofemoral ligament (aMFL) of Humphrey is an anatomically variable fibrous band of connective tissue that attaches between the lateral aspect of the medial femoral condyle and posterior horn of the lateral meniscus, running posterior to the anterior cruciate ligament and anterior to the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). The presence of an intact aMFL may contribute to stabilization of the lateral compartment of the knee joint.

Purpose: The original magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) arm of this study aimed to assess the aMFL incidence among Polish patients. The goal of the systematic review and meta-analysis was to review the literature discussing the clinical anatomy of the aMFL and provide data on its prevalence. It was hypothesized that significant heterogeneity exists within the published literature.

Study design: Cross-sectional study and systematic review; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: A retrospective investigation was performed on the MRI scans of 100 knees (52 right, 48 left) of Polish patients. Scans were randomly selected from a database of MRI examinations performed in 2019. For the meta-analysis, major online databases were queried for data on the aMFL, and 2 authors independently assessed and extracted data from all included studies. A quality assessment of the included articles was performed using the Anatomical Quality Assessment tool.

Results: In the MRI arm of this study, the aMFL was found in 62 of the 100 lower limbs. The meta-analysis included 41 studies with a total of 4220 limbs. The aMFL was present in 55.5% (95% CI, 45.5%-65.3%) of cases. Arthroscopic studies yielded the highest prevalence (82.3% [95% CI, 36.6%-100.0%]); of MRI studies, the highest prevalence was at 3.0-T strength (51.0% [95% CI, 13.3%-88.2%]).

Conclusion: Significant variability in the prevalence of the aMFL was found in the literature. More emphasis should be placed on the clinical relevance of injuries to the aMFL because of its significant role in the function of the knee. It is important to be aware that, because of the anatomy of the aMFL, the ligament can also function to support a torn PCL.

Keywords: MRI; aMFL; anterior meniscofemoral ligament; clinical anatomy; evidence-based anatomy; ligament of Humphrey.

Publication types

  • Review