Fabella prevalence rate increases over 150 years, and rates of other sesamoid bones remain constant: a systematic review

Journal article


Berthaume, M., Di Federico, E. and Bill, A. (2019). Fabella prevalence rate increases over 150 years, and rates of other sesamoid bones remain constant: a systematic review. Journal of Anatomy. 235, pp. 67-79.
AuthorsBerthaume, M., Di Federico, E. and Bill, A.
Abstract

The fabella is a sesamoid bone located behind the lateral femoral condyle. It is common in non-human mammals, but the prevalence rates in humans vary from 3 to 87%. Here, we calculate the prevalence of the fabella in a Korean population and investigate possible temporal shifts in prevalence rate. A total of 52.83% of our individuals and 44.34% of our knees had fabellae detectable by computed tomography scanning. Men and women were equally likely to have a fabella, and bilateral cases (67.86%) were more common than unilateral ones (32.14%). Fabella presence was not correlated with height or age, although our sample did not include skeletally immature individuals. Our systematic review yielded 58 studies on fabella prevalence rate from 1875–2018 which met our inclusion criteria, one of which was an outlier. Intriguingly, a Bayesian mixed effects
generalized linear model revealed a temporal shift in prevalence rates, with the median prevalence rate in
2000 (31.00%) being ~ 3.5 times higher than that in 1900 (7.64%). In all four countries with studies before and
after 1960, higher rates were always found after 1960. Using data from two other systematic reviews, we found
no increase in prevalence rates of 10 other sesamoid bones in the human body, indicating that the increase in
fabella prevalence rate is unique. Fabella presence/absence is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors: as the prevalence rates of other sesamoid bones have not changed in the last 100 years, we postulate the increase in fabella prevalence rate is due to an environmental factor. Namely, the global increase in human height and weight (due to improved nutrition) may have increased human tibial length and muscle mass. Increases in tibial length could lead to a larger moment arm acting on the knee and on the tendons crossing it. Coupled with the increased force from a larger gastrocnemius, this could produce the mechanical stimuli necessary to initiate fabella formation and/or ossification.Key words: fabella; Korea; prevalence rate; sesamoid bone.

Year2019
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Journal citation235, pp. 67-79
PublisherWiley
ISSN0021-8782
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/joa.12994
Publication dates
Print17 Apr 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted07 Mar 2019
Deposited13 Nov 2019
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC 4.0
File Access Level
Open
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/8876v

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