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Instr Course Lect. 2009;58:389-95.

Evaluation and treatment of the multiligament-injured knee.

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  • 1Geisinger Sports Medicine, Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pennsylvania, USA.


A dislocated knee with tearing of both cruciate ligaments and one or both of the collateral ligaments is a severe injury that can result from high-or low-energy trauma. Vascular injuries (especially of the popliteal artery), nerve injuries, associated fractures, functional instability, and posttraumatic arthrosis all can occur with this injury complex. Most of these ligament injuries require surgical treatment, although some low-grade medial collateral ligament complex injuries can be treated with bracing. The timing of surgical treatment of acute multiple ligament injuries depends on the ligaments injured, the vascular status and skin condition of the injured extremity, the degree of knee instability, and the patient's overall health. It is important to correct all components of instability. Delaying reconstruction for 2 to 3 weeks may decrease the incidence of arthrofibrosis. Allograft tissue generally is preferred for these complex surgical procedures. Currently, there is no conclusive evidence that double-bundle posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction provides better results than single-bundle posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in the knee with injuries to multiple ligaments.

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