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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2015

Segmentation of the lateral femoral notch sign with MRI using a new measurement technique

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Thomas Hoffelner, Isabel Pichler, Philipp Moroder, Michael Osti, Martin Hudelmaier, Wolfgang Wirth, Herbert Resch, Alexander Auffarth
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

TH contributed the concept and design of this manuscript as well as the writing of the manuscript. IP participated in the design of the study, the research in our database, performed the clinical examination and did the measurement of the MRIs. PM participated in the design of the manuscript and did the review of the manuscript. MO helped in searching the database and also reviewed the manuscript. MH participated as experts for anatomy and musculoskeletal research in measuring the MRIs as well as the final review. WW participated as the second expert for anatomy and musculoskeletal research and reviewed the manuscript. AA contributed to the concept and design of this manuscript as well as review of the final manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The goal of this present study was to precisely determine the dimension and location of the impaction fracture on the lateral femoral condyle in patients with an ACL rupture.


All patients with post-injury bi-plane radiographs and MRI images after sustaining a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament were included. Lateral radiographs of the affected knee were inspected for a lateral femoral notch sign. MRIs of patients with a lateral condylopatellar sulcus ≥1.5 mm were used to segment and measure the lateral condylopatellar sulcus. The MRI examination was interpreted by an expert in musculoskeletal radiology. The study was approved by the ethics committee of the state of Salzburg.


A “lateral femoral notch sign”was seen in 50 patients. The average total surface area of the lateral femoral condyle was 3271.7 mm2 (SD 739.5 mm2). The defect had a mean surface area of 266.1 mm2 (SD 125.5 mm2), a mean volume of 456.5 mm3 (SD 278.5 mm3), a mean depth of 3.0 mm (SD 0.8 mm). On average 169 mm2 (SD 99.6 mm2) of the surface of the condyle were affected by the impaction fracture which corresponds to 5.2 % (SD 2.8 %) of the surface of the lateral femoral condyle. In 51 % the impaction fracture was located in the central-external area of the femoral condyle.


In cases of a clinically suspected ACL rupture lateral radiographs of the knee should be checked for a lateral femoral notch sign further MRI for confirmation should be performed. Knowing of the precise defect on the lateral femoral condyle is an additionally valuable information, as concomitant injuries to a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament increase the risk for early-onset osteoarthritis in the future.
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