Tibial derotational osteotomy for idiopathic tibial torsion: A systematic review of surgical indications based on clinical presentation and measurement technique

Rafat H. Solaiman, Yushane Shih, Caitlin J Bakker, Elizabeth A. Arendt, Marc A. Tompkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this systematic review was to identify the surgical indications of tibial derotational osteotomy (TDO) in patients with idiopathic external tibial torsion (ETT) and identify common measurement thresholds for surgical correction. Methods: A systematic search of MEDLINE and Embase via Ovid, Cochrane Library via Wiley, Web of Science, Scopus, SPORTDiscus via EBSCOhost, ClinicalTrials.gov, WHO ICTRP and Global Index Medicus databases was performed with search terms reflecting the concepts of idiopathic tibial torsion, TDOs, and surgical indications. Studies reporting surgical indications and measurement methods of idiopathic tibial torsion in patients who underwent TDO were included. Two authors independently screened articles and extracted data that was characterized with descriptive statistics. Results: Seventeen studies were identified for inclusion, with 460 tibias and 351 patients. Nearly all patients who underwent surgery had either anterior knee pain or patellar instability, even if other indications were present. Of all included patients, the most common surgical indications for TDO were anterior knee pain (88%), patellar instability (59%), gait dysfunction (41%) and cosmetic deformity (12%). Twelve studies (71%) cited multiple of these indications as reasons for surgery. On physical exam, tibial torsion was measured most commonly by thigh–foot angle (59%) (TFA) and transmalleolar axis (24%) (TMA). In terms of TFA, the most frequently reported cut-off for ETT was >30° (35%). Computerized tomography (CT) was used by nine studies (53%). The most common CT axes used to measure ETT were the TMA with respect to the posterior tibia condylar axis or the bicondylar tibia axis. Conclusion: Anterior knee pain and/or patellar instability are common indications for TDO in patients with idiopathic tibial torsion. Standardized TFA thresholds (>30°) and CT measurement methods (TMA and posterior tibia condylar or bicondylar tibial axis) may help further establish objective surgical indications. Level of Evidence: IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy.


  • derotational osteotomy
  • idiopathic
  • measurement methods
  • surgical indications
  • tibial torsion

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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