Mapping the Genicular Arteries to Provide a Caution Zone During Knee Surgery

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Clinical Anatomy


Introduction: Reports from the current literature show a lack of detail with depictions of the genicular arteries (GA). The intricate anatomy and infrequency of operating in the posterior knee may lead to surgeons being unfamiliar with the anatomy. The goal of this cadaveric study was to quantitatively map the arteries and create a caution zone that can be utilized when preparing and performing surgical procedures involving the knee.

Materials and methods: The left knees of 46 cadavers were used. The distance of the GAs were from the joint line (JL) (+, superior to JL; -, inferior to JL) was measured in two locations: popliteal artery (PA) branch point and medial/lateral knee. The angle the artery traveled between these two points in the posterior knee was measured. A caution map was created.

Results: The superolateral GA branched from PA at +47.3 mm and traveled superiorly at 57.7° to +52.2 mm at the lateral knee. The superomedial GA branched from PA at +55.2 mm and traveled superiorly at 66.8° to +57.3 mm at the medial knee. The inferolateral GA branched from PA at -0.6 mm. It traveled superiorly at 74.1° or inferiorly at 62.1° to -1.0 mm at the lateral knee. The inferomedial GA branched from the PA at +9.9 mm. It traveled inferiorly at 21.2° to -33 mm at the medial knee.

Conclusion: The GAs have a predictable pattern of location in the knee. There is a mismatch between medical textbooks and reality regarding arterial depictions. Knowledge regarding where the arteries are located may help reduce vascular complications in patients in the future.



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anatomy, arthroscopy, blood supply, knee, meniscal repair, surgery, total knee arthroplasty