Trochlear dysplasia with prior ACL reconstruction

Case contributed by Dr Nafisa Shakir Batta


A young dancer with full thickness ACL tear, repaired 18 months ago, complaints of persistent discomfort and give-way sensation on movement of knee.

Patient Data

Age: 21 years
Gender: Female

Post arthroscopic case of ACL reconstruction shows screw fixation at lateral femoral and medial tibial condyle with no loosening and minimal adjoining bone marrow edema. ACL is of intermediate signal intensity and appears parallel to the blumensaats line.

The patello femoral articulation is incongruent, with lateral patellar instability. Findings evident on axial sections are:

  • Thickened medial patellar retinaculum and tibiofemoral ligaments.
  • Dysplastic trochlear fossa
  • Flattened  and asymmetrical medial facet
  • Abnormal medial-lateral facet ratio <40% MT/LT
  • Mildly reduced troclear depth 2.3mm

The lateral trochlear inclination angle is normal. There is not obvious ventral prominence either. No obvious features of articular cartilage edema/erosion or medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL)scarring/tear/avulsion are seen.

Hence it was concluded that the give-way sensation was attributable to the transient lateral patellar instability due  to coexistent mild degree of femoral trochlear dysplasia and not a  post arthroscopic consequence.

Case Discussion

Femoral trochlear dysplasia is a well known entity, many signs and measurements are used to categorize and characterize the degree of dysplasia, on xrays and MRI.

MRI is the best modality to evaluate the signs, measurements and features of soft tissue and bony injury in acute or chronic patellar instability consequent to  trochlear dysplasia. One should however be careful to measure them 3 cm above the tibiofemoral joint space to avoid eroneous calculations.

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Case information

rID: 24783
Published: 12th Sep 2013
Last edited: 22nd Sep 2015
Tag: knee
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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