International Orthopaedics

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 845–852 | Cite as

Tunnel position and graft orientation in failed anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a clinical and imaging analysis

  • Ali Hosseini
  • Parth Lodhia
  • Samuel K. Van de Velde
  • Peter D. Asnis
  • Bertram Zarins
  • Thomas J. Gill
  • Guoan LiEmail author
Original Paper



It has been reported that technical error in positioning the graft tunnel is the most common problem in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. The objective of this study was to quantitatively evaluate femoral and tibial tunnel positions and intra-articular graft orientation of primary ACL reconstruction in patients who had undergone revision ACL reconstruction. We postulated that this patient cohort had a nonanatomically positioned tunnel and graft orientation.


Twenty-six patients who had undergone a revision ACL were investigated. Clinical magnetic resonance (MR) images prior to revision were analysed. Three-dimensional models of bones and tunnels on the femur and tibia were created. Intra-articular graft orientation was measured in axial, sagittal and coronal planes. Graft positions were measured on the tibial plateau as a percentage from anterior to posterior and medial to lateral; graft positions on the femur were measured using the quadrant method.


Sagittal elevation angle for failed ACL reconstruction graft (69.6° ± 13.4°) was significantly greater (p < 0.05) than that of the native anteromedial (AM) and posterolateral (PL) bundles of the ACL (AM 56.2° ± 6.1°, PL 55.5° ± 8.1°). In the transverse plane, the deviation angle of the failed graft (37.3° ± 21.0°) was significantly greater than native ACL bundles. The tibial tunnel in this patient cohort was placed posteromedially and medially to the anatomical AM and PL bundles, respectively. The femoral tunnel was placed anteriorly to the anatomical AM and PL bundles.


This study reveals that both the tibial and femoral tunnel positions and consequently the intra-articular graft orientation in this patient group with failed ACL reconstruction were nonanatomical when compared with native ACL values. The results can be used to improve tunnel placement in ACL reconstruction.


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Femoral Tunnel Tibial Tunnel Tunnel Position 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Dr. Bijoy Thomas, Dr. Michael Kozanek, and Mr. Hemanth Gadikota for their technical assistance. This study was supported by National Institute of Health (5R01AR055612-04 and F32 AR056451).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Hosseini
    • 1
  • Parth Lodhia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Samuel K. Van de Velde
    • 1
  • Peter D. Asnis
    • 1
  • Bertram Zarins
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Gill
    • 1
  • Guoan Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Bioengineering Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryMassachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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