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J Orthop Res. 2009 May;27(5):631-8. doi: 10.1002/jor.20785.

The use of platelets to affect functional healing of an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) autograft in a caprine ACL reconstruction model.

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Vanderbilt Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Many anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions have increased laxity postoperatively. We hypothesized that enhancing an ACL graft with a collagen-platelet composite (CPC) would improve knee laxity and graft structural properties. We also hypothesized the platelet concentration in the CPC would affect these parameters. Twelve goats underwent ACL reconstruction with autologous patellar tendon graft. In six goats, a collagen-platelet composite was placed around the graft (CPC group). In the remaining six goats, the collagen scaffold only was used (COLL group). Three goats were excluded due to complications. After 6 weeks in vivo, anterior-posterior (AP) laxity and tensile properties of the ACL reconstructed knees were measured and normalized against the contralateral intact knee. At a knee flexion angle of 30 degrees, the average increase in AP laxity was 40% less in the CPC group than the COLL group (p = 0.045). At 60 degrees, the AP laxity was 30% less in the CPC group, a difference that was close to statistical significance (p = 0.080). No differences were found between treatment groups with respect to the structural properties (p > 0.30). However, there were significant correlations between serum platelet concentration and AP laxity (R2 = 0.643; p = 0.009), maximum load (R2 = 0.691; p = 0.006), and graft stiffness (R2 = 0.840; p < 0.001). In conclusion, use of a CPC to enhance healing of an allograft ACL reconstruction inversely correlated with early sagittal plane laxity and the systemic platelet count was highly predictive of ACL reconstruction graft strength and stiffness at 6 weeks. These findings emphasize the importance of further research on delineating the effect of platelets in treating of ACL injuries.

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