3D-Printed Patient-Specific ACL Femoral Tunnel Guide from MRI

Iain Rankin, Haroon Rehman, Mark Frame

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Traditional ACL reconstruction with non-anatomic techniques can demonstrate unsatisfactory long-term outcomes with regards instability and the degenerative knee changes observed with these results. Anatomic ACL reconstruction attempts to closely reproduce the patient's individual anatomic characteristics with the aim of restoring knee kinematics, in order to improve patient short and long-term outcomes. We designed an arthroscopic, patient-specific, ACL femoral tunnel guide to aid anatomical placement of the ACL graft within the femoral tunnel.

The guide design was based on MRI scan of the subject's uninjured contralateral knee, identifying the femoral footprint and its anatomical position relative to the borders of the femoral articular cartilage. Image processing software was used to create a 3D computer aided design which was subsequently exported to a 3D-printing service.

Transparent acrylic based photopolymer, PA220 plastic and 316L stainless steel patient-specific ACL femoral tunnel guides were created; the models produced were accurate with no statistical difference in size and positioning of the center of the ACL femoral footprint guide to MRI (p=0.344, p=0.189, p=0.233 respectively). The guides aim to provide accurate marking of the starting point of the femoral tunnel in arthroscopic ACL reconstruction.

This study serves as a proof of concept for the accurate creation of 3D-printed patient-specific guides for the anatomical placement of the femoral tunnel during ACL reconstruction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalThe Open Orthopaedics Journal
Early online date28 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament
  • ACL
  • Anatomic
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction
  • Printing
  • Three-dimensional
  • Arthroscopy


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