A biomechanical analysis of matched bone-patellar tendon-bone and double-looped semitendinosus and gracilis tendon grafts

Am J Sports Med. 1999 Mar-Apr;27(2):202-7. doi: 10.1177/03635465990270021501.


Biomechanical testing was done on 15 matched pairs of central-third bone-patellar tendon-bone and double-looped semitendinosus-gracilis grafts harvested from 15 cadaveric knees. Load to failure, composite graft stiffness, and the modulus of elasticity were calculated for each graft. Specimens were from 2 female and 13 male donors (average age, 40 years; range, 17 to 53). Average load to failure for the patellar tendon grafts was 1784 N (+/- 580), compared with 2422 N (+/- 538) for the hamstring tendon grafts (significantly different). There was no statistically significant difference in stiffness between grafts (patellar tendon, 210 N/mm; hamstring tendon, 238 N/mm). The elastic modulus was 225 MPa (+/- 129) for the patellar tendon grafts and 145 MPa (+/- 58) for the hamstring tendon grafts (significantly different). The average cross-sectional area for the hamstring tendon grafts was 57 mm2, compared with the 45 mm2 for the patellar tendon grafts. The hamstring tendon grafts were significantly stronger than the matched central-third patellar tendon grafts, but the two grafts were similar in stiffness. The patellar tendon grafts had a higher modulus than the hamstring tendon grafts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Transplantation*
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patella
  • Tendons / transplantation*
  • Tensile Strength
  • Transplants*