Rectus femoris transfer surgery is performed to convert the rectus femoris muscle from a knee extensor to a knee flexor. In this surgery, the distal tendon of the rectus femoris is detached from the patella and reattached to one of the knee flexor tendons. The outcomes of this procedure are variable, and it is not known if the surgery successfully converts the muscle to a knee flexor. We measured the motion of muscle tissue within the rectus femoris and vastus intermedius during knee extension in 10 unimpaired control subjects (10 limbs) and 6 subjects (10 limbs) after rectus femoris transfer using cine phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging. Displacements of the vastus intermedius during knee extension were similar between control and tendon transfer subjects. In the control subjects, the rectus femoris muscle consistently moved in the direction of the knee extensors and displaced more than the vastus intermedius. The rectus femoris also moved in the direction of the knee extensors in the tendon transfer subjects; however, the transferred rectus femoris displaced less than the vastus intermedius. These results suggest that the rectus femoris is not converted to a knee flexor after its distal tendon is transferred to the posterior side of the knee, but its capacity for knee extension is diminished by the surgery.
View details for Web of Science ID 000177318000003
View details for PubMedID 12126662