Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging in patellar tendon-lateral femoral condyle friction syndrome: relationship with subtle patellofemoral instability

Abstract

Objective

To investigate the correlation of patellar tendon-lateral femoral condyle friction syndrome (PTLFCFS) with subtle patellofemoral instability to explore its pathogenesis.

Materials and methods

One hundred knees of 80 patients with PTLFCFS were analyzed retrospectively by retrieving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data over a 3-year period from our database. Seven quantitative parameters for evaluating patellofemoral stability were measured on MR images, including the Insall–Salvati ratio, tibial tuberosity–trochlear groove (TT–TG) distance, trochlear groove depth, medial trochlear/lateral trochlear length (MT/LT) ratio, medial trochlear/lateral trochlear height (MH/LH) ratio, lateral patellofemoral angle (LPA), and lateral trochlear inclination (LTI) angle. These patellofemoral parameters of the PTLFCFS group and the normal control group were compared (n = 88), and receiving-operator characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was conducted to determine the specificity and sensitivity of these parameters.

Results

The trochlear depth, MT/LT, LPA, and LTI angle were significantly lower (p < 0.001) and the Insall–Salvati ratio was significantly higher (p < 0.001) in the PTLFCFS group. However, the TT–TG distance and MH/LH ratio showed no significant difference (p = 0.231 and 0.073 respectively). The area under the ROC curve of the Insall–Salvati ratio, trochlear depth, MT/LT, LPA, and LTI angle were 0.925, 0.784, 0.8, 0.731, and 0.675 respectively. The efficiency of the Insall–Salvati ratio was the highest among those five parameters.

Conclusion

This study verified the presence of subtle patellofemoral instability by measuring various patellofemoral parameters in patients with PTLFCFS. It confirmed that PTLFCFS is associated with subtle patellofemoral instability and could largely explain the pathogenesis of PTLFCFS.

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Correspondence to Haitao Yang.

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Li, J., Sheng, B., Yu, F. et al. Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging in patellar tendon-lateral femoral condyle friction syndrome: relationship with subtle patellofemoral instability. Skeletal Radiol 48, 1251–1259 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00256-019-3163-1

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Keywords

  • Knee joint
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Patellar tendon
  • Hoffa’s fat-pad edema
  • Patellofemoral instability