2022 journal article
Age- and Sex-Specific Joint Biomechanics in Response to Partial and Complete Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in the Porcine Model
JOURNAL OF ATHLETIC TRAINING, 57(9-10), 978–989.
Context Pediatric anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury rates are increasing and are highest in female adolescents. Complete ACL tears are typically surgically reconstructed, but few guidelines and very limited data exist regarding the need for surgical reconstruction or rehabilitation for partial ACL tears in skeletally immature patients. Objective To evaluate the effects of partial (anteromedial bundle) and complete ACL transection on joint laxity and tissue forces under anterior and rotational loads in male and female stifle joints throughout skeletal growth in the porcine model. Design Descriptive laboratory study. Setting Laboratory. Patients or Other Participants We studied 60 male and female Yorkshire crossbreed pigs aged 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, and 18 months (n = 6 pigs per age per sex). Main Outcome Measure(s) Joint laxity was measured in intact, anteromedial bundle-transected, and ACL-transected joints under applied anterior-posterior drawer and varus-valgus torque using a robotic testing system. Loading of the soft tissues in the stifle joint was measured under each condition. Results Anterior-posterior joint laxity increased by 13% to 50% (P &lt; .05) after anteromedial bundle transection and 75% to 178% (P &lt; .05) after ACL transection. Destabilization after anteromedial bundle transection increased with age (P &lt; .05) and was greater in late female than late male adolescents (P &lt; .05). In anteromedial bundle-transected joints, the posterolateral bundle resisted the anterior load. In ACL-transected joints, the medial collateral ligament (MCL) contribution was largest, followed by the medial meniscus. The MCL contribution was larger and the medial meniscus contribution was smaller in male versus female specimens. Conclusions Partial ACL transection resulted in moderate increases in joint laxity, with the remaining bundle performing the primary ACL function. Destabilization due to partial ACL transection (anteromedial bundle) was largest in late adolescent joints, indicating that operative treatment should be considered in active, late-adolescent patients with this injury. Increased forces on the MCL and medial meniscus after ACL transection suggested that rehabilitation protocols may need to focus on protecting these tissues.