BACKGROUND: Tibial tubercle-trochlear groove (TT-TG) distance is often used as a measure of lateralization of the TT and is important for surgical planning.
PURPOSE: To investigate if increased TT-TG distance measured on axial magnetic resonance images is due to lateralization of the TT or medialization of the TG.
STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.
METHODS: A total of 84 knees (28 normal [NK], 28 with trochlear dysplasia [TD], and 28 with patellar dislocation without TD [PD]) were examined. The medial border of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) was chosen as the central anatomic landmark. The distance from the TT to PCL (TT-PCL) was measured to examine the lateralization of the TT. The distance from the TG to the PCL (TG-PCL) was measured to examine the medialization of the TG. Between-group differences were investigated by use of 1-way analysis of variance.
RESULTS: The mean values for TT-TG distance were 8.7 ± 3.6 mm for NK, 12.1 ± 6.0 mm for PD, and 16.7 ± 4.3 mm in the TD group (P < .01). The mean values for TT-PCL distance were 18.5 ± 3.6 mm for NK, 18.5 ± 4.5 mm for PD, and 21.2 ± 4.2 mm in the TD group (P = .03). The mean values for TG-PCL distance were 9.6 ± 3.0 mm for NK, 7.1 ± 3.4 mm for PD, and 5.1 ± 3.3 mm in the dysplastic group (P < .01).
CONCLUSION: The present results indicate that increased TT-TG distance is due to medialization of the TG and not lateralization of the TT. Knees with TD had increased TT-TG distance compared with the knees of the control group and the knees with PD. The TT-PCL distance did not differ significantly between groups, whereas the TG-PCL distance declined with increased TT-TG.