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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2003 Jul;85(5):765-73.

The meniscofemoral ligaments: secondary restraints to the posterior drawer. Analysis of anteroposterior and rotary laxity in the intact and posterior-cruciate-deficient knee.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College, London, England, UK.


We have tested the hypothesis that the meniscofemoral ligaments make a significant contribution to resisting anteroposterior and rotatory laxity of the posterior-cruciate-ligament-deficient knee. Eight cadaver human knees were tested for anteroposterior and rotatory laxity in a materials-testing machine. The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) was then divided, followed by division of the meniscofemoral ligaments (MFLs). Laxity results were obtained for intact, PCL-deficient, and PCL-MFL-deficient knees. Division of the MFLs in the PCL-deficient knee increased posterior laxity between 15 degrees and 90 degrees of flexion. Force-displacement measurements showed that the MFLs contributed 28% to the total force resisting posterior drawer at 90 degrees of flexion in the intact knee, and 70.1% in the PCL-deficient knee. There was no effect on rotatory laxity. This is the first study which shows a function for the MFLs as secondary restraints to posterior tibial translation. The integrity of these structures should be assessed during both imaging and arthroscopic studies of PCL-injured knees since this may affect the diagnosis and management of such injuries.

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