Background: Patellofemoral anatomy has not been well characterized. Applying deep learning to automatically measure knee anatomy can provide a better understanding of anatomy, which can be a key factor in improving outcomes. Methods: 483 total patients with knee CT imaging (April 2017–May 2022) from 6 centers were selected from a cohort scheduled for knee arthroplasty and a cohort with healthy knee anatomy. A total of 7 patellofemoral landmarks were annotated on 14,652 images and approved by a senior musculoskeletal radiologist. A two-stage deep learning model was trained to predict landmark coordinates using a modified ResNet50 architecture initialized with self-supervised learning pretrained weights on RadImageNet. Landmark predictions were evaluated with mean absolute error, and derived patellofemoral measurements were analyzed with Bland–Altman plots. Statistical significance of measurements was assessed by paired t-tests. Results: Mean absolute error between predicted and ground truth landmark coordinates was 0.20/0.26 cm in the healthy/arthroplasty cohort. Four knee parameters were calculated, including transepicondylar axis length, transepicondylar-posterior femur axis angle, trochlear medial asymmetry, and sulcus angle. There were no statistically significant parameter differences (p > 0.05) between predicted and ground truth measurements in both cohorts, except for the healthy cohort sulcus angle. Conclusion: Our model accurately identifies key trochlear landmarks with ~0.20–0.26 cm accuracy and produces human-comparable measurements on both healthy and pathological knees. This work represents the first deep learning regression model for automated patellofemoral annotation trained on both physiologic and pathologic CT imaging at this scale. This novel model can enhance our ability to analyze the anatomy of the patellofemoral compartment at scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number815
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • CT
  • arthroplasty
  • body weights and measures
  • deep learning
  • knee replacement
  • patellofemoral joint


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