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J Orthop Res. 1991 Jul;9(4):516-28.

Evaluation of a new injury model to study medial collateral ligament healing: primary repair versus nonoperative treatment.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261.


The medial collateral ligament (MCL) of the rabbit left hindlimb was ruptured by a rod placed beneath it, resulting in a "mop-end" tear of the ligament substance with simultaneous injury to the insertion sites. Using this model, we compared primary ligament repair and nonoperative treatment using biomechanical and histologic techniques at time zero, 10 days, and 6 and 12 weeks postoperatively. Biomechanical evaluation included measurement of varus-valgus (V-V) knee rotation, in situ load on the MCL, and tensile testing of the femur-MCL-tibia complex (FMTC). The V-V rotation of all experimental knees decreased over time. At 12 weeks, V-V rotation of experimental knees was still 1.3 times larger than that of controls. Primary repair initially decreased V-V rotation, but at 6 and 12 weeks there was no statistical difference between operated and nonoperated knees. The in situ load on the MCL followed the same trends. There was no significant effect of MCL repair on any of the tensile properties. However, postoperative healing time significantly improved the FMTC structural properties in both experimental groups. Failure modes of the FMTCs and histologic sections of the ligament insertion sites indicated that after injury the ligament insertion to bone recovered more slowly than the ligament substance. Tensile testing of the FMTC showed that even at 12 weeks postoperatively the mechanical properties of the healed ligament material remained significantly different from those of the controls.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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