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. 2005 Jan;38(1):23-31.
doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2004.03.021.

Analysis of Forces of ACL Reconstructions at the Tunnel Entrance: Is Tunnel Enlargement a Biomechanical Problem?


Analysis of Forces of ACL Reconstructions at the Tunnel Entrance: Is Tunnel Enlargement a Biomechanical Problem?

M Jagodzinski et al. J Biomech. .


Bone tunnel enlargement is a common phenomenon following reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Biomechanical and biological factors have been reported as potential causes of this problem. However, there is no analysis of forces between the graft and bone, as the graft changes direction at the bone tunnel entrance. The purpose of this study was to study these 'redirecting forces'. Magnetic resonance images of 10 patients with an ACL reconstruction (age: 26+/-6.8 years) were used to determine the angle between graft and drill holes. Vector analysis was used to calculate the direction and magnitude of the perpendicular component of the force between the bone tunnel and the graft at the entrance of the bone tunnel. Force components were projected into the radiographically important sagittal and coronal planes. Tension of ACL reconstructions was recorded during passive knee motion in 10 cadaveric knee experiments (age: 28.9+/-10.6 years) and the tension multiplied with the force component for each plane. Results are reported for the coronal and sagittal planes, respectively: For -10 degrees of extension, the percentages of graft tension were determined to be 17+/-7 (max: 26; min: 7%) and 26+/-9 (max: 39; min: 16%) for the tibia. They were 59+/-6 (max: 66; min: 48%) and 99+/-1 (max: 1.00; min: 99%) for the femur. Force components were 14.68+/-6.54 and 25.73+/-12.96 N for the tibial tunnel. For the femoral tunnel, they were 52.48+/-19.03 and 90.77+/-32.06 N. Percentages of graft tension and force components were significantly higher for the femoral tunnel compared with the tibial tunnel. Moreover, in the sagittal direction, force components for the femoral tunnel were significantly higher compared with the coronal plane (Wilcoxon test, p < 0.01). The differences in force components calculated in this study corresponds with the amount of tunnel enlargement in the radiographic planes in the literature providing evidence that biomechanical forces play a key role in postoperative tunnel expansion.

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