Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 22, Issue 12, pp 2947–2953 | Cite as

The surgical epicondylar axis is a consistent reference of the distal femur in the coronal and axial planes

  • Hideo Kobayashi
  • Yasushi Akamatsu
  • Ken Kumagai
  • Yoshihiro Kusayama
  • Ryo Ishigatsubo
  • Shuntaro Muramatsu
  • Tomoyuki Saito



Various rotational landmarks including the surgical epicondylar axis (SEA) are used for preoperative planning and intra-operative reference of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in the axial plane. The aim of the study was to elucidate the relationships between the SEA and other femoral anatomical landmarks, including the mechanical axis, distal and posterior knee joints, the trochlear groove, and the anterior femoral condyle, in both the coronal and axial planes.


Angular and linear measurements were taken of sixty femora using Orthomap3D, which has a tool to analyse computed tomography image data that makes it possible to measure three-dimensional distances and angles precisely. The inter- and intra-observer reliabilities of these measurements were evaluated. Comparisons were made according to height, weight, body mass index, and gender.


The angle between the mechanical axis and the SEA was 90.2° (95 % CI 90.0°–90.4°). There was a significant correlation for each linear measurement between the SEA and the distal/posterior knee joint line and for each linear measurement between the SEA and the anterior medial/lateral femoral condyle. A significant difference was observed between genders in the linear measurements. Significant correlations were found between height and weight and linear parameters.


Knowledge of the relationships between the SEA and other femoral anatomical landmarks is useful in preoperative planning, intra-operative landmark, and postoperative assessment of TKA. The SEA is a consistent parameter of femoral alignment in the coronal plane and a stable reference for femoral rotation in the axial plane.

Level of evidence



Computed tomography (CT) Mechanical axis Gender differences Surgical epicondylar axis (SEA) Total knee arthroplasty 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hideo Kobayashi
    • 1
  • Yasushi Akamatsu
    • 1
  • Ken Kumagai
    • 1
  • Yoshihiro Kusayama
    • 1
  • Ryo Ishigatsubo
    • 1
  • Shuntaro Muramatsu
    • 1
  • Tomoyuki Saito
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of MedicineYokohama City UniversityYokohamaJapan

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