Six patients with a clinical diagnosis of chronic posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) rupture, based on a positive posterior drawer test, had a normal appearance of the PCL on an MRI scan. It is postulated that the PCL had been ruptured but healed in a lengthened state. 12 volunteers with no history of knee trauma underwent an MRI scan of the knee. In this control group (n = 12), there was a close correlation between the lateral femoral condylar width in the sagittal plane and the PCL length, with a ratio of 2:1 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.817-2.095). In the clinically abnormal group (n = 6), the ratio was 1.49:1 (95% CI = 1.206-1.782) (p< 0.0005). In conclusion, the ratio of the lateral femoral condylar width in the sagittal plane to the PCL length is a useful index for diagnosing PCL attenuation and lengthening in the presence of a normal morphological MR appearance.
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