The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 8 , 2647 - 2651

Anatomical Features of the Descending Genicular Artery to Facilitate Surgical Exposure for the Subvastus Approach—A Cadaveric Study

Kawarai, Yuya et al.
Knee

Background

The purpose of this cadaveric study was to clarify the proximal limit for the subvastus approach (SVA) in total knee arthroplasty to decrease potential vascular injury.

Methods

Seventy embalmed knees underwent a modified SVA using a 14-cm oblique medial incision. Anatomical features of the descending genicular artery (DGA) were investigated with regard to variation, distance of the vessels from surgical landmarks, and sex differences.

Results

The DGA was identified in 62 knees (89%), while it was absent in 8 knees (11%); in the latter, the articular, saphenous, and muscular branches arose separately from the femoral artery. The mean distances from the tibial tuberosity and medial joint line to the origin of the DGA were 15.5 ± 1.6 cm and 12.6 ± 1.6 cm, respectively. Both distances were significantly longer in males than in females (P < .01, respectively). A strong positive correlation was found between the distance from the tibial tuberosity to the origin of the DGA and the distance from the medial joint line to the origin of the DGA (Spearman’s correlation coefficient, R2 = 0.72, P < .01). A weak positive correlation was found between the distance from the tibial tuberosity to the origin of the DGA and lower leg length (R2 = 0.13, P < .01). No vascular injuries were observed in this surgical exposure.

Conclusion

The DGA showed several variations and was absent 11% of the time. An oblique medial incision within 14 cm from the tibial tuberosity followed by arthrotomy is considered a safe zone for the SVA.


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