A simple method of measuring tibial tubercle to trochlear groove distance on MRI: description of a novel and reliable technique

Christopher L. Camp, Mark J. Heidenreich, Diane L. Dahm, Jeffrey R. Bond, Mark S. Collins, Aaron Krych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: Tibial tubercle–trochlear groove (TT–TG) distance is a variable that helps guide surgical decision-making in patients with patellar instability. The purpose of this study was to compare the accuracy and reliability of an MRI TT–TG measuring technique using a simple external alignment method to a previously validated gold standard technique that requires advanced software read by radiologists. Methods: TT–TG was calculated by MRI on 59 knees with a clinical diagnosis of patellar instability in a blinded and randomized fashion by two musculoskeletal radiologists using advanced software and by two orthopaedists using the study technique which utilizes measurements taken on a simple electronic imaging platform. Interrater reliability between the two radiologists and the two orthopaedists and intermethods reliability between the two techniques were calculated using interclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and concordance correlation coefficients (CCC). ICC and CCC values greater than 0.75 were considered to represent excellent agreement. Results: The mean TT–TG distance was 14.7 mm (Standard Deviation (SD) 4.87 mm) and 15.4 mm (SD 5.41) as measured by the radiologists and orthopaedists, respectively. Excellent interobserver agreement was noted between the radiologists (ICC 0.941; CCC 0.941), the orthopaedists (ICC 0.978; CCC 0.976), and the two techniques (ICC 0.941; CCC 0.933). Conclusion: The simple TT–TG distance measurement technique analysed in this study resulted in excellent agreement and reliability as compared to the gold standard technique. This method can predictably be performed by orthopaedic surgeons without advanced radiologic software. Level of evidence: II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-884
Number of pages6
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Patellar instability
  • Tibial tubercle to trochlear groove (TT–TG) distance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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