Overestimation of femoral tunnel length during anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction using the retrograde outside-in drilling technique

Ken Okazaki, Kanji Osaki, Kazutaka Nishikawa, Hirokazu Matsubara, Yasutaka Tashiro, Yukihide Iwamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: When the femoral tunnel socket is reamed in an oblique direction from the wall of inter-condylar notch in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, the tunnel length can be shorter at the periphery than at the centre. Because surgeons can manipulate the direction of tunnel in the outside-in femoral tunnel drilling technique, this length mismatch would vary depending on the direction of the tunnel. The purpose of this study was to investigate this length mismatch when reamed in various directions. Methods: In total of thirteen points were defined as femoral drilling entry points on concentric lines with 0, 1, 2, and 3 cm radius from the lateral epicondyle of a three-dimensional bone model from 40 subjects. Femoral tunnel drilling was simulated on the models by connecting the centre of the ACL footprint with each defined point on the lateral femoral surface. The mismatch length was measured between the centre and the shortest peripheral side of the tunnel socket. Results: When the distance between the drilling entry point on the lateral femoral surface and the lateral epicondyle was increased to anterior proximal direction, there was a significant increase in the mismatch length. The mismatch length became more than 2 mm when the entry point was located more than 2 cm away from the lateral epicondyle. Conclusions: When the drilling entry point is set far away from the lateral epicondyle, a significant increase was observed in tunnel length mismatch between the centre of the tunnel and its shortest peripheral side. Because the tunnel length is measured with a guide pin introduced at the centre of the tunnel before reaming in retrograde outside-in technique, this length mismatch could cause an overestimation of the tunnel length. Surgeons should recognise this mismatch when preparing the length of graft and socket to optimise the graft insertion length into the socket.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-1163
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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