Estimating Lengths of Semitendinosus and Gracilis Tendons by Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Omer A. Ilahi, R. Scott Staewen, Eugene F. Stautberg, Ali A. Qadeer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help predict the tendon-only length of the semitendinosus (ST) and the gracilis (G). Methods: The distance from the tibial insertion to the distal-most aspect of the musculotendinous junction (MTJ) of the ST and G was estimated on preoperative MRI scans of patients undergoing primary anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction with single-bundle, quadruple-stranded hamstring autograft. This MRI tendon-only length, measured by a musculoskeletal radiologist blinded to surgical findings, was compared to the actual tendon-only length measured upon harvesting each tendon. Results: Among the 42 patients comprising the study population, there was very strong correlation between the estimates of tendon-only length made by MRI and surgical measurements for both the ST (Spearman coefficient = 0.83; P <.0001) and the G (Spearman coefficient = 0.82; P <.0001). The difference between MRI and surgical measurements did not exceed 3 cm for any of the 84 harvested hamstring tendons. Bland-Altman plots confirmed agreement between the 2 measurement methods. There was also strong correlation between the surgically measured tendon-only length of the ST and its G counterpart (Spearman coefficient = 0.68; P <.0001). Conclusions: MRI estimates of tendon-only length for both the ST and G very strongly correlate with operative measurements of these lengths; the discrepancy between these 2 measurement methods was found to not exceed 3 cm when the MTJ of these tendons is visible on MRI scans. Level of Evidence: Level III, comparative study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2457-2462
Number of pages6
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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