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J Biomech. 1994 Jan;27(1):13-24.

The mechanical properties of the two bundles of the human posterior cruciate ligament.

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  • 1Mechanical Engineering Department, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, U.K.


Successful reconstruction of ligaments requires knowledge of the properties of the intact ligament. This study examined the strength of the human posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), treating it as two separate fibre bundles. It was hypothesized (i) that the mechanical and material properties of the anterolateral (aPC) and the posteromedial (pPC) bundles of the PCL were significantly different and (ii) that previous studies have underestimated the strength of the whole PCL. The properties of the two bundles were measured in 10 donors (53-98 yr). The mechanical and material properties of the two bundles were found to be significantly different, the aPC was six times as strong as the pPC. The aPC had a mean strength of 1.6 kN. Allowing for age effects this study suggests that the strength of the PCL in young active people is 4 kN, which is higher than that suggested by previous studies. Because of the difference in the strengths of the two bundles, we conclude that the aPC is primarily responsible for the stabilising effect of the PCL. We therefore recommend that PCL reconstructions should be centered on the middle of the aPC bundle.

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