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Orthopedics. 2012 Feb 17;35(2):e267-71. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20120123-24.

Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction failure after tibial shaft malunion.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction is common, with >100,000 procedures performed each year in the United States. Several factors are associated with failure, including poor surgical technique, graft incorporation failure, overly aggressive rehabilitation, and trauma. Tibial shaft fracture is also common and frequently requires operative intervention. Failure to reestablish the anatomic alignment of the tibia may cause abnormal forces across adjacent joints, which can cause degenerative joint disease or attritional failure of the surrounding soft tissues. This article describes a case of ACL reconstruction failure after a tibial fracture that resulted in malunion. Excessive force across the graft from lower-extremity malalignment and improper tunnel placement likely contributed to the attritional failure of the graft. This patient required a staged procedure for corrective tibial osteotomy followed by revision ACL reconstruction. This article describes ACL reconstruction failure, tibial shaft malunions, their respective treatments, the technical details of each procedure, and the technical aspects that must be considered when these procedures are done in a staged manner by 2 surgeons.

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