Purpose: To determine (1) whether a correlation exists between tibial tubercle–posterior cruciate ligament (TT-PCL) and tibial tubercle–trochlear groove (TT-TG) distances in patellar instability patients; (2) reliability when measuring TT-PCL distance; (3) whether TT-PCL distances measured on MRI are equivalent to those on CT; and (4) whether a correlation exists between TT-PCL distance and number of instability events or recurrence of instability following stabilization surgery. Methods: A systematic review was performed using PRISMA guidelines. Clinical studies investigating the relationships of TT-PCL with TT-TG on CT and/or MRI in patellar instability patients were sought. English language studies with Levels of evidence I–IV were eligible for inclusion. Results: Four studies (285 subjects [300 knees] with patellar instability [74.2% female; mean age 26.1 ± 8.2 years]; 114 controls [144 knees; 77% female; mean age 23.1 years]) were included. Mean TT-PCL of instability and control groups was 21.1 ± 4.1 and 18.8 ± 4.0 mm (p < 0.0001), respectively. Two studies reported significant positive (strong and moderate) correlations between TT-PCL and TT-TG MRI measurements in instability patients. All four investigations reported excellent interobserver and intraobserver reliability in MRI measurement of TT-PCL distance. No study compared TT-PCL distances on MRI and CT. No study assessed correlation between TT-PCL distance and number of instability events or recurrence of instability after surgery. Conclusion: A moderate-to-strong positive correlation exists between TT-PCL and TT-TG measurements taken from MRIs of patellar instability patients. There is excellent interobserver and intraobserver reliability when taking TT-PCL measurements using MRI. This review advocates use of a new pathologic TT-PCL threshold of 21 mm. Level of evidence: Level III, systematic review of Level II–III studies.
- Patellar dislocation
- Patellar instability
- Tibial tubercle–posterior cruciate ligament
- Tibial tubercle–trochlear groove
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine