The origin points of the knee collateral ligaments: an MRI study on paediatric patients during growth

  • Sebastian TschaunerEmail author
  • Erich Sorantin
  • Georg Singer
  • Robert Eberl
  • Annelie-Martina Weinberg
  • Peter Schmidt
  • Tanja Kraus



Different femoral origins for both the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) have been reported in the growing skeleton (epiphyseal and metaphyseal). Knowledge about the exact attachment sites is mandatory for anatomically correct reconstruction. This study assesses the femoral origins of the knee collateral ligaments in skeletally immature individuals using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


MRIs of 336 knee joints (median age 15 years (range 2–18 years), m = 209 and f = 127) were retrospectively analysed to assess the distances between the femoral origins of the MCL and LCL to the distal femoral growth plate. In 175 patients, the body sizes were additionally retrieved from medical records.


Both MCL and LCL ligament origins were invariably located on the epiphysis. Mean MCL origin–growth plate distance was 9.6 mm (SD 2.1 mm; range 2.2–13.6 mm) in boys and 8.6 mm (SD 1.5 mm; range 3.4–12.0 mm) in girls. Mean LCL origin–growth plate distance was 9.3 mm (SD 1.8 mm; range 4.3–13.0 mm) in boys and 8.2 mm (SD 1.5 mm; range 3.4–11.8 mm) in girls. The distance between the growth plate and both collateral ligaments as well as the length of the LCL correlated positively with patients’ age and body size (MCL R 2 = 0.673 and 0.556, LCL R 2 = 0.734 and 0.645, LCL length R 2 = 0.589 and 0.741; all p < 0.001).


During growth, the femoral origins of the MCL and the LCL are constantly located on the distal femoral epiphysis. There is a linear increase in the distances from the ligaments’ origins to the growth plate according to age and body size. This new information may be of clinical importance for reconstructive surgery of the knee’s collateral ligaments.


Collateral ligaments Knee Children Origin MRI Growth 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Tschauner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erich Sorantin
    • 1
  • Georg Singer
    • 2
  • Robert Eberl
    • 2
  • Annelie-Martina Weinberg
    • 3
  • Peter Schmidt
    • 4
  • Tanja Kraus
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric Radiology, Department of RadiologyMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Department of Pediatric and Adolescence SurgeryMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  3. 3.Department of Orthopedics and Orthopedic SurgeryMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  4. 4.MRT Institut Stolzalpe Dr. SchmidtStolzalpeAustria

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