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Comparative Anatomy of the Meniscofemoral Ligament in Humans and some Domestic Mammals

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the presence, position and relative sizes of the meniscofemoral ligaments (MFL) in three quadrupeds and humans and relate these to the caudal slope of the lateral tibial plateau. Canine, ovine and equine stifles and human knees were dissected to identify the presence of MFLs, their obliquity in relation to the caudal cruciate ligaments (CCL), the relative size and shape of the MFLs compared with the CCL, the points of femoral attachment of the MFLs and CCL, and the distance between the MFLs and CCL at their midpoints. The lateral tibial condyle was divided sagittally with a handsaw and the caudal slope was measured. An MFL was present in all quadrupeds. It was caudal to the CCL, being analogous to the human posterior MFL. There was no structure analogous to the human anterior MFL, a structure that has a different femoral attachment from the human posterior MFL and MFLs in other species examined. The meniscotibial attachments were of varying sizes. The size ratio between the MFL and CCL was greater in all three quadrupeds than it was in the human knee. The MFL lies more obliquely than the CCL in all species examined. The caudal tibial slope was steeper in the quadrupeds. In the stifle joints of quadrupeds, the MFL is a substantial structure and appears to be related to the caudal tibial slope. It is known to resist caudal translation of the tibia in conjunction with the lateral meniscus. This must be borne in mind when considering its function in the human knee.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Addresses of authors: Biomechanics Section, Departments of Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ 2: Centre for Equine Studies, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7UU 3: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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