ARTHROSCOPY-THE JOURNAL OF ARTHROSCOPIC AND RELATED SURGERY, vol.22, no.6, pp.656-659, 2006 (SCI-Expanded)
Purpose: The anatomic localization of the popliteal artery in the mediolateral plane at the level of the joint line was investigated on axial knee magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to study anatomic variations. Methods: The transverse and central axes were described on axial MRI scans of 334 knees. The distance between the popliteal artery and central axis was measured; the course of the central axis bisected the posterior cruciate ligament in almost all of the cases. The differences in popliteal artery localization according to sex and side were analyzed. Results: Whereas popliteal artery localization was lateral to the central axis in 94.3% of cases, it was on the central axis in 5.7%. The popliteal artery localization was not seen on the medial side of the central axis. There was no significant effect of sex and side. Conclusions: Arthroscopic surgeons performing posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction or interventions on the posterior horns of the menisci should bear in mind that the risk of arterial complication may be greater for cases having the popliteal artery on the central axis. In conclusion, preoperative evaluation of the popliteal artery with MR axial scans, especially in pericapsular arthroscopic procedures, may prevent popliteal artery injuries. Level of Evidence: Level III, diagnostic study of nonconsecutive patients.