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Am J Sports Med. 2011 May;39(5):964-71. doi: 10.1177/0363546510390189. Epub 2011 Jan 21.

Biomechanical evaluation of pediatric anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction techniques.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.



Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction rates in skeletally immature patients have risen recently because of increased injury frequency combined with growing awareness of the importance of treating them in an acute setting. Concerns over potential growth disturbances caused by traditional tunnel placement have prompted the description of several partial and complete physeal-sparing techniques.


Native knee kinematics will most closely be restored by the all-epiphyseal technique because it best re-creates the intra-articular ACL anatomy.


Controlled laboratory study.


Six cadaveric knees were subjected to static anteroposterior, varus, and internal rotation forces at 0°,15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90° of flexion. Displacement and rotation of the tibia with respect to the femur were measured in the intact knee, after ACL disruption, and again after ACL reconstruction using all-epiphyseal, transtibial over-the-top, and iliotibial band physeal-sparing techniques.


Peak anteroposterior translation in the ACL intact and deficient states was 2.8 ± 1.4 mm and 7.2 ± 2.7 mm, respectively, at 30°. The all-epiphyseal reconstruction had a peak translation of 5.1 ± 2.3 mm at 30°, and the transtibial over-the-top reconstruction had a peak of 4.8 ± 1.8 mm at 30°, both significantly greater than the ACL intact state. The iliotibial band technique had a peak anteroposterior translation of 1.7 ± 1.1 mm at 45°, which was significantly less than the ACL-deficient state. Internal rotation was significantly increased in the all-epiphyseal reconstruction compared with the ACL intact state and significantly decreased at all flexion angles except 0° in the iliotibial band reconstruction. The only technique to affect varus rotation was the iliotibial band reconstruction, which significantly decreased varus rotation from the ACL-deficient state at flexion angles greater than 30°.


All physeal-sparing reconstruction techniques restored some stability to the knee. The iliotibial band reconstruction best restored anteroposterior stability and rotational control, although it appeared to overconstrain the knee to rotational forces at some flexion angles.


This study provides orthopaedic surgeons with objective knee kinematic data to help guide them in making more informed decisions on the optimal technique for ACL reconstruction in skeletally immature patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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