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J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2000 Nov-Dec;8(6):364-72.

Healing and repair of ligament injuries in the knee.

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Musculoskeletal Research Center, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Although methods of treating ligamentous injuries have continually improved, many questions remain about enhancing the rate, quality, and completeness of ligament healing. It is known that the ability of a torn ligament to heal depends on a variety of factors, including anatomic location, presence of associated injuries, and selected treatment modality. A grade III injury of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) of the knee usually heals spontaneously. Surgical repair followed by immobilization of an isolated MCL tear does not enhance the healing process. In contrast, tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament often require surgical reconstruction. The MCL component of a combined ACL-MCL injury has a worse prognosis than an isolated MCL injury. The results of animal studies suggest that nonoperative treatment of an MCL injury is effective if combined with operative reconstruction of the ACL. Experimentation using animal models has helped to define the effects of ligament location, associated injuries, intrinsic factors, surgical repair, reconstruction, and exercise on ligament healing. New techniques utilizing growth factors and cell and gene therapies may offer the potential to enhance the rate and quality of healing of ligaments of the knee, as well as other ligaments in the body.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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