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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1987 Sep;(222):239-48.

Treatment of the anterior cruciate ligament-absent knee with associated meniscal tears. Instrumented testing and clinical evaluation of two patient groups.


The UCLA instrumented clinical testing apparatus was used to measure postoperative stiffness and laxity for two groups of patients with documented chronic absence of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and associated meniscal tears. Group 1 consisted of 76 patients (average age, 25 years) who had undergone anterior cruciate substitution using the torn meniscus, and a second group of 34 patients (average age, 31 years) who had partial meniscectomy alone without ACL substitution. Subjective and objective evaluations were significantly higher and symptoms of pain and buckling significantly lower in the substitution group. In addition, 29% of Group 1 and only 7% of Group 2 patients were able to return to their preinjury sports without limitations, while 5% of the former and 12% of the latter could not return to any sport. At 90 degrees of flexion, there were no significant differences in stiffness or laxity between the patient groups. At 20 degrees of flexion and neutral foot rotation, the meniscal substitution group had an average of 1.4 mm less side-to-side laxity difference than the partial meniscectomy patients; 51% of the substituted patients still had an injured knee laxity that was at least 2 mm greater than the uninjured knee, as contrasted to 67% of the partial meniscectomy patients who exceeded this upper limit of the normal range. At 20 degrees, anterior stiffness of the injured knees of the substitution patients was 28% greater than the injured knees of the partial meniscectomy group; 42% of the substituted patients had an injured knee stiffness within the normal range, while only 18% of the partial meniscectomy patients fell within normal limits. There were no statistical correlations of stiffness or laxity values with clinical scores or patient symptomatology in either group.

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