Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of Posterolateral Meniscal Anatomy: Defining the Popliteal Hiatus, Popliteomeniscal Fascicles, and the Lateral Meniscotibial Ligament
Surgical treatment of lateral meniscal tears can be challenging due to the greater mobility of the lateral meniscus, thin capsule, and management of the popliteal hiatus. In such instances, having a detailed understanding of relevant anatomy is important. Using cadaveric knees and a 3-dimensional coordinate measuring system, this study aimed to measure the relationships of the posterior horn of the lateral meniscus to various surgically relevant anatomical landmarks. Specifically, the attachments of the posterolateral capsule, popliteomeniscal fascicles, and meniscofemoral ligaments to the lateral meniscus as well as the attachment of the meniscotibial ligament to the tibia were identified and described.
By measuring the lengths and positional relationships of these structures to the lateral meniscus, this study provides the foundation for an improved understanding of the posterolateral compartment of the knee. These guidelines may help further refine the intraoperative diagnosis of lateral meniscus tears extending into the popliteal hiatus. Furthermore, this knowledge may help surgeons restore the original relationships and attachments of the lateral meniscus during its repair, helping to avoid the repaired meniscus from sustaining excessive levels of strain.