Intraarticular rupture pattern of the ACL

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2007 Jan;454:48-53. doi: 10.1097/BLO.0b013e31802ca45b.


To date, the intraarticular rupture pattern of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) has not been reported. The ACL is a complex structure consisting of two functionally synergistic structures: the anteromedial (AM) and posterolateral (PL) bundle. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the intraarticular rupture pattern of the ACL with regard to its two functional bundles. We examined ACL rupture patterns with regard to the integrity of AM and PL bundle in 121 consecutive patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery within 120 days after injury. The intraarticular pattern was observed by one experienced surgeon. In 25% of the patients a partial rupture of the ACL was found, whereas in the remaining 75% a complete rupture of AM and PL bundles was seen. A partial rupture could only be detected by careful dissection of the ligament. In 44% of all patients the AM and PL bundles did not rupture at the same location. In 12% of the patients the PL bundle showed no signs of rupture. When performing ACL reconstruction, care should be taken when dissecting down the ACL remnants to evaluate intact fiber bundles of the ACL.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / pathology*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Joint Instability / pathology
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rupture / pathology