How precise can bony landmarks be determined on a CT scan of the knee?

J. Victor, D. Van Doninck, L. Labey, B. Innocenti, P. M. Parizel, J. Bellemans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to describe the intra- and inter-observer variability of the registration of bony landmarks and alignment axes on a Computed Axial Tomography (CT) scan. Six cadaver specimens were scanned. Three-dimensional surface models of the knee were created. Three observers marked anatomic surface landmarks and alignment landmarks. The intra- and inter-observer variability of the point and axis registration was performed. Mean intra-observer precision ranks around 1 mm for all landmarks. The intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) for inter-observer variability ranked higher than 0.98 for all landmarks. The highest recorded intra- and inter-observer variability was 1.3 mm and 3.5 mm respectively and was observed for the lateral femoral epicondyle. The lowest variability in the determination of axes was found for the femoral mechanical axis (intra-observer 0.12 degrees and inter-observer 0.19 degrees) and for the tibial mechanical axis (respectively 0.15 degrees and 0.28 degrees). In the horizontal plane the lowest variability was observed for the posterior condylar line of the femur (intra-observer 0.17 degrees and inter-observer 0.78 degrees) and for the transverse axis (respectively 1.89 degrees and 2.03) on the tibia. This study demonstrates low intra- and inter-observer variability in the CT registration of landmarks that define the coordinate system of the femur and the tibia. In the femur, the horizontal plane projections of the posterior condylar line and the surgical and anatomical transepicondylar axis can be determined precisely on a CT scan, using the described methodology. In the tibia, the best result is obtained for the tibial transverse axis. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-365
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


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