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Arthroscopy. 2012 Oct;28(10):1524-32. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2012.03.004. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

Measurement of the end-to-end distances between the femoral and tibial insertion sites of the anterior cruciate ligament during knee flexion and with rotational torque.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-3221, USA.



The aim of this study was to determine the end-to-end distance changes in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) fibers during flexion/extension and internal/external rotation of the knee.


The positional relation between the femur and tibia of 10 knees was digitized on a robotic system during flexion/extension and with an internal/external rotational torque (5 Nm). The ACL insertion site data, acquired by 3-dimensional scanning, were superimposed on the positional data. The end-to-end distances of 5 representative points on the femoral and tibial insertion sites of the ACL were calculated.


The end-to-end distances of all representative points except the most anterior points were longest at full extension and shortest at 90°. The distances of the anteromedial (AM) and posterolateral (PL) bundles were 37.2 ± 2.1 mm and 27.5 ± 2.8 mm, respectively, at full extension and 34.7 ± 2.4 mm and 20.7 ± 2.3 mm, respectively, at 90°. Only 4 knees had an isometric point, which was 1 of the 3 anterior points. Under an internal torque, both bundles became longer with statistical meaning at all flexion angles (P = .005). The end-to-end distances of all points became longest with internal torque at full extension and shortest with an external torque at 90°.


Only 4 of 10 specimens had an isometric point at a variable anterior point. The end-to-end distances of the AM and PL bundles were longer in extension and shorter in flexion.


The nonisometric tendency of the ACL and the end-to-end distance change during knee flexion/extension and internal/external rotation should be considered during ACL reconstruction to avoid overconstraint of the graft.

Copyright © 2012 Arthroscopy Association of North America. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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