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Am J Sports Med. 1990 Sep-Oct;18(5):475-9.

Secondary damage to the knee after isolated injury of the anterior cruciate ligament.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel.

Abstract

Between 1978 and 1984, we examined and performed arthroscopy on 1000 consecutive patients. Ninety-eight of the 1000 had isolated ACL damage. These cases do not include patients with initial ACL injuries combined with other intraarticular damage. Diagnosis was by physical and arthroscopic examination. Examination took place an average 13.6 months after injury. Of the 98 isolated ACL injuries, 56 were complete ruptures and 42 were partial ruptures. In most cases of partial rupture, the clinical diagnosis was wrong. "Meniscal damage" was the usual diagnosis in these cases; the true diagnosis was made only by arthroscopic examination. Thirty-four of the 98 patients with isolated ACL injuries (30 men and 4 women) developed further intraarticular damage. Of these 34, 20 had complete ACL rupture and 14 had partial ACL rupture. Treatment after primary injury included physiotherapy in all patients and bracing in those whose knee was unstable during daily activities. Reconstructive surgical procedures were not performed in those patients. The time lapse from the primary to the secondary injury varied from 1 month to 20 years, with an average of 28 months. The secondary damage was caused by a secondary injury that was mild (22 cases) or developed insidiously (12 cases). Five types of secondary damage were observed: partial ACL tears that became complete--11 cases; meniscal tear--8 cases; loosening and subluxation of the anterior horn of the medial meniscus--14 cases; and fracture or damage to the articular condylar cartilage, with or without bone involvement--11 cases. It should be emphasized that the secondary damages were at times combined.

PMID:
2252087
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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