Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 2474–2480 | Cite as

Posterolateral portal tibial tunnel drilling for posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: technique and evaluation of safety and tunnel position

  • Eduard Alentorn-Geli
  • Joseph J. Stuart
  • J. H. James Choi
  • Alison P. Toth
  • Claude T. MoormanIII
  • Dean C. Taylor



To evaluate the safety for neurovascular structures and accuracy for tunnel placement of the posterolateral portal tibial tunnel drilling technique in posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) reconstruction.


Fifteen fresh-frozen human cadaveric knees were used. The tibial tunnel for the PCL was created using a flexible reamer from the posterolateral portal. Then, the flexible pin was left in place, and the distance from the posterolateral portal, the flexible pin, and the tibial tunnel to the peroneal nerve and popliteal artery was measured. Additionally, the distance between the tibial tunnel and several landmarks related to the PCL footprint was measured, along with the distance from the exit point of the flexible pin to the superficial medial collateral ligament and gracilis tendon.


The peroneal nerve and the popliteal neurovascular bundle were not damaged in any of the specimens. The median (range) distance in mm from the peroneal nerve and popliteal artery to the posterolateral portal and flexible pin was: 52 (40–80) and 50 (40–61), and 35 (26–51) and 22 (16–32), respectively. The median (range) distance from the tibial tunnel to the popliteal artery was 21 mm (15–38). The tibial tunnel was located at a median (range) distance in mm of 3 (2–6), 6 (3–12), 5 (2–7), 4 (1–8), 9 (3–10), 10 (4–19), and 19 (6–24) to the champagne-glass drop-off, lateral cartilage point, shiny white fibre point, medial groove, medial meniscus posterior root, lateral meniscus posterior root, and posterior aspect of the anterior cruciate ligament, respectively.


The posterolateral portal tibial tunnel technique is safe relative to neurovascular structures and creates an anatomically appropriate tibial tunnel location. The clinical relevance of study is that this technique may be safely and accurately used in PCL reconstruction to decrease the risk of neurovascular damage (avoid use of a posteriorly directed pin), avoid the use of intraoperative fluoroscopy, and avoid the sharp turn during graft passage.


Posterior cruciate ligament Tibial drilling Posterolateral portal Safety 



No IRB is required for this study. IRB exemption was obtained for the present cadaver study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest regarding the present investigation.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery, Arthroscopy (ESSKA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduard Alentorn-Geli
    • 1
  • Joseph J. Stuart
    • 1
  • J. H. James Choi
    • 1
  • Alison P. Toth
    • 1
  • Claude T. MoormanIII
    • 1
  • Dean C. Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Duke Sports Sciences Institute, Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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