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22.01.2019 | KNEE | Ausgabe 10/2019

Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy 10/2019

The development of the anterior cruciate ligament in the paediatric population

Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy > Ausgabe 10/2019
Fernando M. Lima, Pedro Debieux, Diego C. Astur, Marcus V. M. Luzo, Moises Cohen, Fabiano N. Cardoso, André Y. Aihara, Alexandre Grimberg, Artur R. C. Fernandes
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00167-019-05349-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



The aim of this study was to retrospectively compile normative data on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the paediatric population with magnetic resonance imaging, emphasizing the differences between men and women.


In this retrospective study, musculoskeletal radiologists evaluated length, area, coronal and sagittal inclination of the ACL and inclination of the intercondylar notch. A total of 253 MR examinations (130 males and 123 females between 6 and 18 years of age) were included. The association between measurements, sex and age was considered. Linear and fractional polynomial regression models were used to evaluate the relationships between measurements.


ACL length showed significant progressive growth (p < 0.001) with age in men and women, without characterization of growth peaks. ACL area in women showed more pronounced growth up to 11 years, stabilized from 11 to 14 years and then sustained a slight reduction. In men, ACL area showed more pronounced growth up to 12 years, stabilized from 12 to 15 years and then sustained slight reduction. Coronal and sagittal inclination of the ACL showed a significant progressive increase (p < 0.001) with age in both sexes, progressively verticalizing. The intercondylar roof inclination angle showed significant progressive reduction (p < 0.001) with age in both sexes.


The area of the ACL does not accompany skeletal maturation, interrupting its growth around 11–12 years. Progressive verticalization of the ACL as well as of the intercondylar notch roof in the evaluated ages was also observed. The clinical relevance of this study is that the ACL presents different angular and morphologic changes during growth in the paediatric population. Since ACL repair is now being performed on younger children, recognition of the normal developmental changes of the ACL is of utmost importance for successful ACL graft placement.

Level of evidence


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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 5595 KB)
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