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Arthroscopy. 1999 May;15(4):422-32.

The ligament augmentation device: an historical perspective.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Aberdeen Medical School, Foresterhill, Scotland.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is the most common ligament injury in the knee, and a significant number of patients may develop progressive instability and disability despite aggressive rehabilitation. Various materials have been used for its reconstruction. These include autografts, allografts, prosthetic ligaments, and synthetic augmentation of the biological tissue. The concept of ligament augmentation device (LAD) arose from the observation that biological grafts undergo a phase of degeneration and loss of strength before being incorporated. The LAD is meant to protect the biological graft during this vulnerable phase. However, it provokes an inflammatory reaction in the knee, and has been found to delay maturation of autogenous graft in humans. In experimental situations, the LAD has been found to share loads in a composite graft. It has also been found to be substantially stronger than the biological graft. However, in clinical situations no significant advantages have been observed with the use of LAD to augment patellar tendon or hamstring reconstruction of the chronic ACL-deficient knee or in the acute setting to augment repair of the torn ACL. There are very few reports of the use of LAD in reconstruction of the posterior cruciate ligament, and again these do not suggest any advantage in its use. Insertion of the LAD implies the introduction of a foreign material into the knee, has been associated with complications such as reactive synovitis and effusions, and may also be associated with an increased risk of infection. At present, there is no evidence that its routine use should be advocated in uncomplicated reconstructions of the ACL using biological grafts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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