All-epiphyseal ACL reconstruction improves tibiofemoral contact: an in vitro study

J Pediatr Orthop. Jan-Feb 2012;32(1):15-20. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e31823b18bd.


Background: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury alters tibiofemoral contact during function, with a posterior shift of the point of contact on the tibia. An all-epiphyseal approach to ACL reconstruction is performed in pediatric patients to improve tibiofemoral contact without disturbing the physis. The hypothesis of the study is that all-epiphyseal ACL reconstruction will shift contact anteriorly on the tibia, as compared with the ACL-deficient knee.

Methods: Ten cadaver knees were tested with the ACL cut and with an all-epiphyseal reconstruction. The knees were set at multiple flexion angles (0, 15, 30, and 45 degrees) and loaded with a quadriceps force of 596 N in combination with an anterior force of 100 N, with the quadriceps loaded in isolation, and with the quadriceps loaded in combination with a hamstrings force of 200 N. Sensors under the menisci characterized the center of force on the tibia. Paired t tests were used to identify significant (P<0.05) differences between the reconstructed and cut conditions for all loading conditions at all flexion angles.

Results: On the medial plateau, the average center of force was 2 to 5 mm more anterior for the reconstructed condition than for the ACL cut, with the difference significant for all test conditions. The largest differences between the ACL conditions occurred for the combination of quadriceps forces plus an anterior force. On the lateral plateau, the anterior shift in the center of force from the ACL cut to reconstructed condition was significant for all flexion angles except 0 degree for all loading conditions, with an average difference of approximately 2 mm for all significant differences.

Conclusions: All-epiphyseal ACL reconstruction shifts contact anteriorly on the tibia compared with the injured knee.

Clinical relevance: The anterior shift of contact on the femur related to all-epiphyseal ACL reconstruction reduces changes related to ACL injury, which could reduce the risk of cartilage damage and meniscal injuries without violating the growth plate in pediatric patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / methods*
  • Cadaver
  • Epiphyses / surgery
  • Female
  • Femur / pathology
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Knee Joint / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tibia / pathology