Multiligamentous Injuries of the Knee and Associated Vascular Injuries

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Recently published studies have raised the question of whether arteriography is warranted in the evaluation of multiligamentous injuries of the knee.


The objective is to report the frequency of associated vascular injuries in the multiligament-injured knee and examine the role arteriography plays in the treatment protocol.

Study Design:

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.


A retrospective analysis was performed on 71 patients over a 12-year period who had a diagnosis of multiligamentous injury of the knee with a tibial-femoral dislocation documented based on physical examination and magnetic resonance imaging findings.


Of 72 knee injuries involving multiple ligaments, 12 vascular injuries were identified. Four knees were found to have a vascular injury at initial presentation based on abnormal physical examination and confirmed with arteriography. Eight patients with a vascular injury had normal pulses. Routine arteriography discovered an intimal injury of the popliteal artery in 5 of these patients. Arteriography in the remaining 3 patients was interpreted as normal.


These findings suggest that physical examination alone is not sufficient in detecting the majority of vascular injuries after a suspected knee dislocation.

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