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Radiology. 1992 Jan;182(1):221-4.

Bone signal abnormalities in the posterolateral tibia and lateral femoral condyle in complete tears of the anterior cruciate ligament: a specific sign?

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1
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Doctors' Hospital, Coral Gables, FL 33146.

Abstract

Thirty-two patients with acute, complete tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) proved at surgery underwent examination with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Bone impaction sites were present in the posterolateral tibial plateau in 30 patients (94%) and in the lateral femoral condyle (LFC) in 29 patients (91%). The bone abnormalities had low signal intensity on T1-weighted images and high signal intensity on T2-weighted images when compared with the signal intensity of normal marrow. It is assumed that the bone changes occur during injury when the LFC impacts into the posterior tibia, either during the initial rotary subluxation or as the LFC recoils to return to anatomic alignment. Only one of six partial ACL tears had a bone signal change. In patients with acute knee injury, bone impaction sites in the posterolateral tibia and the LFC suggest that a complete ACL tear is present.

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