The purpose of this study was to compare the size of the native ACL mid-substance cross-sectional area and the size of commonly used autografts. Hypothesis of this study was that the reconstructed graft size with autografts would be smaller than the native ACL size.
Twelve non-paired human cadaver knees were used. The ACL was carefully dissected, and the mid-substance of the ACL was cross-sectioned parallel to the articular surface of the femoral posterior condyles at 90 degrees of knee flexion. The size of the cross-sectional area of the ACL, and the femoral and tibial footprints were measured using Image J software (National Institute of Health). The semitendinosus tendon (ST) and the gracilis (G) tendon were harvested and prepared for ACL grafts. Simulating an ST graft, the ST was cut in half. The bigger half was regarded as the antero-medial (AM) bundle, and the remaining half was regarded as the postero-lateral (PL) bundle. Simulating an ST-G graft, the bigger half of the ST and G were regarded as the AM bundle, and the smaller half of the ST was regarded as the PL bundle. Each graft diameter was measured, and the graft area was calculated. Simulating a rectangular bone-patella tendon-bone (BPTB) graft, a 10-mm-wide BPTB graft was harvested and the area calculated.
The sizes of the ACL mid-substance cross-sectional area, femoral and tibial ACL footprint were 46.9 ± 18.3, 60.1 ± 16.9 and 123.5 ± 12.5 mm2, respectively. The average areas of the ST, ST-G, and BPTB grafts were 52.0 ± 3.8, 64.4 ± 6.2, and 40.8 ± 6.7 mm2, respectively. The ST and BPTB grafts showed no significant difference in graft size when compared with the ACL cross-sectional area.
ST and BPTB autografts were able to reproduce the native size of the ACL mid-substance cross-sectional area. The ST-G graft was significantly larger than the ACL cross-sectional area. For clinical relevance, ST and BPTB grafts are recommended in order to reproduce the native size of the ACL in anatomical ACL reconstruction with autograft.
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Anterior cruciate ligament
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Iriuchishima, T., Yorifuji, H., Aizawa, S. et al. Evaluation of ACL mid-substance cross-sectional area for reconstructed autograft selection. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 22, 207–213 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-012-2356-0
- Anterior cruciate ligament
- Double bundle
- Graft size