Combined anterolateral complex and anterior cruciate ligament injury: Anatomy, biomechanics, and management-State-of-the-art

J ISAKOS. 2023 Feb;8(1):37-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jisako.2022.10.004. Epub 2022 Nov 9.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture typically occurs because of sudden axial loading of the knee in conjunction with a coupled valgus and rotational moment about the tibia. However, the ACL is not the only structure damaged during this mechanism of injury, and studies have shown that the anterolateral complex (ALC) of the knee is also commonly involved. Biomechanical studies have established that the ALC plays an important role as a secondary stabiliser to control anterolateral rotatory laxity (ALRL). Indeed, it has been suggested that failure to address injury to the ALC at the time of ACL reconstruction (ACLR) may increase the risk of graft failure owing to persistent ALRL. The concept of combining a lateral extra-articular procedure to augment ACLR for the treatment of ACL injury emerged with a view to decrease the failure rate of either procedure in isolation. This state-of-the-art review discusses the history of the anatomy of the ALC, the biomechanics of a variety of lateral extra-articular augmentation procedures, and provides clinical guidelines for their use in primary ACLR.

Keywords: Anterior cruciate ligament; Anterolateral complex; Lateral extra-articular augmentation procedure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries* / surgery
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability* / surgery
  • Knee Joint / surgery