Analysis of the intercondylar notch by computed tomography

Am J Sports Med. Nov-Dec 1987;15(6):547-52. doi: 10.1177/036354658701500605.


The purposes of this study were to document the dimensions and configuration of the intercondylar notch in the normal knee; to compare normal knee intercondylar notches to those of knees with unilateral and bilateral ACL tears to determine if there is a relationship between intercondylar notch stenosis and ACL tears; and to determine if generalized ligamentous laxity is associated with intercondylar notch stenosis and ACL tears. Three groups were compared: Group I, bilateral ACL tears; Group II, unilateral tears; and Group III, normal knees. Notch dimensions were computer-generated from CT scans. All patients were examined for ligamentous laxity. Statistically significant differences were found between normal and ACL-injured knees in regard to opening notch angle, ratio of notch width at two-thirds of the notch length to condylar width, and ratio of maximum notch width to condylar width, suggesting a significant association between anterior outlet stenosis and unilateral and bilateral ACL tears. The shapes of the notches were determined from tracings of the distal CT scan. Shapes ranged from inverted U to cresting wave. Narrow notches tended to be waveshaped, but more study is needed in this area. Notch-plasty is recommended for those with documented stenosis. The ratio of maximum notch width at two-thirds of the notch height to maximum condyle width should not be much less than 0.2, and the opening notch angle should be at least 50 degrees.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / etiology
  • Knee / anatomy & histology
  • Knee / diagnostic imaging*
  • Knee Injuries / complications
  • Knee Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Ligaments, Articular / diagnostic imaging
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries
  • Male
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Reference Values
  • Rupture
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*