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Arthroscopy. 2012 Oct;28(10):1417-23. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2012.03.017. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Comparative analysis of femoral tunnels between outside-in and transtibial double-bundle anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a 3-dimensional computed tomography study.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Gachon University School of Medicine, Gil Hospital, Incheon, South Korea.



The objectives of this study were (1) to compare locations of the femoral tunnels created by outside-in and transtibial techniques and the reference data and (2) to compare the diameter of the tunnel entrance based on the real reaming size.


A comparative study was performed with 20 outside-in and 22 transtibial double-bundle anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction patients. Computed tomography scans of the operated knees of the outside-in and transtibial groups were performed at 1.25 days (range, 1 to 3 days) and 2.7 weeks (range, 3 days to 4 weeks), respectively. Three-dimensional surface models were then produced. For all 3 plane data sets, the positions of the femoral tunnels were measured by an anatomic coordinate axis method. For comparison of the tunnel diameter at the entrance of tunnel, the difference between the real reaming and measured diameter was determined first on computed tomography images. Subsequently, the differences in the outside-in and transtibial techniques were compared.


In the comparison between outside-in and reference data, the posterior-anterior direction of the posterolateral (PL) tunnel showed an anterior position compared with reference data, even though it was positioned more posteriorly compared with that of the transtibial technique (P = .003). In the comparison between transtibial and reference data, the posterior-anterior direction of the anteromedial (AM) and PL tunnels showed an anterior position compared with reference data (P = .019 and P = .005, respectively). The transtibial technique showed significantly larger diameters in both AM and PL tunnels (P < .001 and P < .001, respectively).


The outside-in technique showed more accurate replication of the femoral tunnels than the transtibial technique, particularly the AM tunnel of the femur. The transtibial technique showed an ellipsoidal tunnel configuration at the entrance of the tunnel, which suggests that eccentric reaming is unavoidable because the reaming angle is determined by the tibial tunnel.


Level III, retrospective comparative study.

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