Knee Joint Motion and Ligament Forces Before and After ACL Reconstruction

[+] Author and Article Information
J. L. Lewis, W. D. Lew, S. Kirstukas, R. E. Hunter

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn. 55455

J. A. Hill

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Northwestern University-The Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611

P. Hanley

North Pacific Orthopaedic Associates, Portland, Ore. 97216

K. Ohland

Division of Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation, Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, Calif. 92093

J Biomech Eng 111(2), 97-106 (May 01, 1989) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3168361 History: Received March 21, 1987; Revised May 17, 1988; Online June 12, 2009


The goal of this in vitro study was to investigate the initial postoperative mechanical state of the knee with various types of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions. An experimental knee testing system was developed for the in vitro measurement of ligament forces and three-dimensional joint motion as external loads were applied to fresh knee specimens. Two groups of knee specimens were tested. In test series #1, two intraarticular reconstructions were performed in each of five specimens using semifree and free patellar tendon grafts with bone blocks. In test series #2, a more carefully controlled intraarticular reconstruction was performed in five specimens using a semifree composite graft consisting of the semitendinosus and gracilis tendons augmented with the Ligament Augmentation Device. Ligament force and joint motion data were collected as anteriorly directed tibial loads were applied to the normal joint, the joint with a cut ACL and the reconstructed joint. These knee joint states were compared on the basis of ACL or graft forces, joint motion and load sharing by the collateral ligaments. The dominate result of the study was that the forces and motions defining the mechanical state of the knee after the ACL reconstructions in both test series were highly variable and abnormal when compared to the normal knee state. The higher level of surgical control series #2 did not decrease this variability. There was a poor correlation between motion of the reconstructed knee relative to normal, and the ACL graft force. There was little consistent difference in force and motion results between the surgical procedures tested.

Copyright © 1989 by ASME
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