Objective measurement devices to assess static rotational knee laxity: focus on the Rotameter

  • Olaf LorbachEmail author
  • Matthias Brockmeyer
  • Matthias Kieb
  • Tina Zerbe
  • Dietrich Pape
  • Romain Seil



The present article summarizes the development of a simple, objective, and non-invasive measurement device for tibiofemoral rotation to assess static rotational knee laxity.

Methods and results

The device is based on the dial test with the patient lying prone and the knee flexed to 30°. From measurements of 30 healthy participants, the device achieved high inter- and intra-observer reliability and showed a high correlation of the measured results with the contralateral knees of the participants. Measurements of the device were also performed in a human cadaver study and revealed highly correlated results when compared to the simultaneous measurements of a knee navigation system, which was used as an invasive standard method to assess tibial rotation. In human cadaver specimens, it was shown that a simulated tear of the posterolateral bundle as well as a complete ACL tear led to a significant increase in isolated tibiofemoral rotation compared to the intact ACL. A retrospective case series investigated the clinical results as well as knee laxity measurements after ACL surgery in vivo. Rotational, as well as anteroposterior (AP), knee laxity was objectively assessed in 52 patients at a mean postoperative follow-up of 27 months by comparing the measured results with the results of the contralateral unaffected knee in each patient. The clinical results were comparable to the results reported in the literature. Moreover, rotational laxity was successfully restored after ACL reconstruction, whereas AP laxity showed significant differences compared to the contralateral knees although they were defined as clinically successful according to the IKDC classification.


A non-invasive and objective knee rotational measurement device has been developed, which offers good potential for objective quality control in knee ligament injuries and their treatment.

Level of evidence

Review article, Level IV.


Rotational knee laxity Measurement device Tibiofemoral rotation ACL 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olaf Lorbach
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthias Brockmeyer
    • 1
  • Matthias Kieb
    • 1
  • Tina Zerbe
    • 1
  • Dietrich Pape
    • 2
  • Romain Seil
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic SurgerySaarland UniversityHomburg (Saar)Germany
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic and Trauma SurgeryCentre Hospitalier de Luxembourg—Clinique d′EichLuxembourgGermany

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