The Anterolateral Ligament of the Knee: What the Radiologist Needs to Know

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The anterolateral ligament (ALL) was recently identified as a distinct component of the anterolateral capsule of the human knee joint with consistent origin and insertion sites. Biomechanical studies revealed that the current association between the pivot shift and an injured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) should be loosened and that the rotational component of the pivot shift is significantly affected by the ALL. This may change the clinical approach toward ACL-injured patients presenting with anterolateral rotatory instability (ALRI), the most common instability pattern after ACL rupture. Radiologists should be aware of the importance of the ALL to ACL injuries. They should not overlook pathology of the anterolateral knee structures, including the ALL, when reviewing MR images of the ACL-deficient knee. In this article, the current knowledge regarding the anatomy, biomechanical function, and imaging appearance of the ALL of the knee is discussed with emphasis on the clinical implications of these findings.

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