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Ann Biomed Eng. 2001 Feb;29(2):173-80.

Structure and function of the healing medial collateral ligament in a goat model.

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  • 1Musculoskeletal Research Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


In this study knee joint function with a healing medial collateral ligament (MCL) at six weeks was examined with a robotic/universal force-moment sensor testing system during the application of two loading conditions: (1) 5 Nm valgus moment and (2) 67 N anterior load. Additionally the structural properties of the femur-MCL-tibia complex and the mechanical properties of the MCL substance were determined by uniaxial tensile tests. The histological appearance of the healing MCL was also observed. At 30 degrees and 60 degrees of knee flexion, valgus rotation of the healing knee was significantly increased compared to the sham. The in situ force in the healing MCL was significantly lower (34+/-17 N vs 54+/-12 N) at the same flexion angles (50+/-10 N vs 62+/-7 N). The anterior translation of the knee had returned to normal values at 30 degrees and 60 degrees of knee flexion. However, no differences could be found between the corresponding in situ forces in the healing MCL at all flexion angles examined during application of an anterior load. The stiffness of the healing group (52.5+/-19.4 N/mm) was significantly lower than the sham group (80.3+/-26.4 N/mm) (p<0.04). The modulus of the healing group was also significantly decreased (p<0.05). The findings suggest that the tensile properties of the healing goat MCL and valgus knee rotation have not returned to normal at six weeks after an isolated MCL rupture, however, anterior translation appeared to return to sham levels.

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