Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 35, Issue 12, pp 916–922

Pellegrini–Stieda disease: a heterogeneous disorder not synonymous with ossification/calcification of the tibial collateral ligament—anatomic and imaging investigation

  • Luiz F. A. Mendes
  • Michael L. Pretterklieber
  • Jae H. Cho
  • Glenn M. Garcia
  • Donald L. Resnick
  • Christine B. Chung
Scientific Article



Ossification/calcification around the medial femoral condyle has been known as Pellegrini–Stieda (PS) disease for almost 100 years. Little attention has been given to magnetic resonance (MR) imaging characteristics. Our purpose is to demonstrate the anatomy in the medial femoral compartment and imaging findings of PS disease, determining the sites and patterns of ossification.

Design and patients

In a cadaveric study seven specimens were dissected to show the anatomic relations of the tibial collateral ligament (TCL) and the tendon of the ischiocondylar part of the adductor magnus muscle, in the medial femoral epicondyle. In order to determine the nature of ossification/calcification in PS disease, MR imaging and radiographic findings in nine patients were analyzed by two observers with attention to the specific site, shape, and orientation of the ossification and its relationship to the tibial collateral ligament (TCL) and adductor magnus tendon. Available clinical history was recorded. A classification system addressing different sites and patterns of ossification was developed.


The anatomic study showed that the TCL and the adductor magnus tendon insert at different sites in the medial femoral condyle and there is no continuation; however, some fibers of the posterior bundle of the TCL overlap the anterior aspect of the adductor magnus tendon. The imaging study showed that shape, orientation, and location of the abnormal calcification and ossification were similar on radiographic and MR imaging analysis. Ossification had an inferior orientation in six cases, a superior orientation in two cases, and both in one case. Four patterns of ossification were noted: (I) a beak-like appearance with an inferior orientation and femoral attachment was present in five cases; (II) a drop-like appearance with an inferior orientation, parallel to the femur, was evident in one case; (III) an elongated appearance with a superior orientation, parallel to the femur, was seen in two cases; and (IV) a beak-like appearance with an inferior and superior orientation, attached to the femur, was seen in one case. The ossification was present in the TCL in six cases, in the adductor magnus tendon in two cases, and in both in one case. The coronal plane was best in detecting and categorizing the ossification.


Our data indicate that ossification in PS disease is not confined to the TCL but may also involve the adductor magnus tendon. In some cases, it can be related to the anatomic proximity (overlap) of the fibers of these two structures. PS disease should not be regarded as synonymous with ossification of the TCL. The ossification may be classified into four types. No clinical differences among these types appear to exist.


Pellegrini–Stieda disease Medial collateral ligament lesion Tendon of the adductor magnus muscle Heterotopic ossification Knee MR imaging Knee anatomy 


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Copyright information

© ISS 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luiz F. A. Mendes
    • 1
  • Michael L. Pretterklieber
    • 2
  • Jae H. Cho
    • 1
  • Glenn M. Garcia
    • 1
  • Donald L. Resnick
    • 1
  • Christine B. Chung
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyVeterans Administration Medical CenterSan Diego USA
  2. 2.Center of Anatomy and Cell BiologyDepartment of Applied AnatomyViennaAustria

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