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Symptomatic mucoid degeneration of the anterior cruciate ligament

  • Jae-Ryong Cha
  • Chae-Chil LeeEmail author
  • Sung-Do Cho
  • Yoon-Seok Youm
  • Kwang-Hwan Jung
Knee

Abstract

Purpose

Mucoid degeneration of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a little-known entity. The aim of this study was to detail the clinical, radiological, arthroscopic and pathological findings of this condition and to report clinical outcomes following arthroscopic partial excision of the ACL.

Methods

Between 1999 and 2009, 80 knees in 78 patients were diagnosed as having mucoid degeneration of the ACL based on MRI and clinical findings, and subsequently underwent arthroscopic treatment. Of these, 68 knees in 66 patients, with a median age of 51 years (range, 35–75 years), were followed-up for at least one year.

Results

All patients had insidious onset of knee pain, while 56 knees (82 %) had associated extension deficits and 36 knees (53 %) had restricted flexion. MRI findings typically showed diffuse thickening and increased signal intensity of the ACL. Arthroscopic examination revealed notch impingement and bulging of hypertrophied ACL into lateral compartments. Associated lesions included meniscal tears in 33 knees and chondral lesions of at least Outerbridge grade 2 in 56 knees. All knees underwent arthroscopic partial excision of the hypertrophied ACL, with three undergoing preoperative and 30 undergoing concomitant meniscectomies. Pain relief was achieved in 58 of 62 knees (94 %) following partial excision of the ACL. Extension deficits were normalized in 49 of 56 knees (88 %), and restricted flexion was normalized in 33 of 36 affected knees (92 %). Four knees of four patients had postoperative symptoms of anterior instability.

Conclusions

Pain and limitation of motion due to mucoid degeneration of the ACL can be improved by arthroscopic partial excision of the ACL with or without notchplasty. However, one potential complication is the development of postoperative symptoms of anterior instability.

Level of evidence

Retrospective study, Level IV.

Keywords

Anterior cruciate ligament Mucoid degeneration Arthroscopic partial excision Anterior instability 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jae-Ryong Cha
    • 1
  • Chae-Chil Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sung-Do Cho
    • 1
  • Yoon-Seok Youm
    • 1
  • Kwang-Hwan Jung
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Ulsan University Hospital, College of MedicineUlsan UniversityUlsanSouth Korea

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