Morphology of the Femoral Intercondylar Notch
Lutul D. Farrow, MD; Michael R. Chen, MD; Daniel R. Cooperman, MD; Brian N. Victoroff, MD; Donald B. Goodfellow, MD

Abstract

Background: During anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, proper femoral tunnel placement is important. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the osseous anatomy of the femoral intercondylar notch.

Methods: We studied the morphology of the femoral intercondylar notch in 200 human femora from skeletally mature donors, with specific attention being paid to the morphology of the ridge on the lateral wall of the intercondylar notch and the posterolateral rim of the intercondylar notch. The distances from the posterolateral rim of the intercondylar notch to the lateral intercondylar ridge and from the posterolateral rim of the intercondylar notch to the inlet of the intercondylar notch (notch depth) were measured at the nine, ten, and eleven o'clock positions for right knees and at the one, two and three o'clock positions for left knees.

Results: The lateral intercondylar ridge was present in 194 femora and absent in six. The mean distance from the posterolateral rim of the intercondylar notch to the lateral intercondylar ridge was 9.0, 11.0, and 12.7 mm at the nine, ten, and eleven o'clock positions in right knees and the one, two, and three o'clock positions in left knees, respectively. We observed three different types of morphology of the posterolateral rim of the intercondylar notch. The morphology of the posterolateral rim of the intercondylar notch was distinct in 183 of 200 specimens. A distinct, straight border (type 1) was seen in 175 femora (87.5%); a distinct, V-shaped border (type 2) was seen in eight (4%); and an indistinct border (type 3) was seen in seventeen (8.5%).

Conclusions: The morphology of the femoral intercondylar notch varies little. Occasionally, the posterolateral rim of the intercondylar notch is not well-defined. In these knees, accurate placement of commercial femoral tunnel aiming guides may be difficult.

Clinical Relevance: This improved knowledge of the morphology of the intercondylar notch may assist the surgeon in placing the femoral tunnel in the proper location when performing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

Footnotes

  • Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.

  • Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio


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