Timothy R. Stapleton, MD; David T. Curd, MS; Champ L. Baker, Jr., MD
Initial Biomechanical Properties of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Autografts
ABSTRACT: To provide more information to consider when selecting a reconstruction technique, we did a side-by-side comparison of some of the initial biomechanical properties of currently accepted reconstruction methods. Our research hypotheses were that a quadrupled, woven semitendinosus and gracilis graft is as strong as any of the other commonly used graft materials and that quadrupling and weaving the hamstring graft may increase the stiffness of the overall construct. Using lower extremity cadaveric specimens harvested from young donors, we fashioned seven each of seven types of graft: 9-mm, 10-mm, and 11-mm-wide patellar tendon graft (PTG); 10-mm-wide central quadriceps tendon graft; doubled semitendinosus graft; tripled semitendinosus graft; and quadrupled, woven semitendinosus and gracilis graft. Specimens were stripped of remaining soft tissue, and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) constructs were created for biomechanical testing. The tibia was translated anteriorly on the femur, mimicking a pivot shift maneuver, and failure strength, failure mechanism, and construct stiffness were recorded. No differences in mean strength were detected. The quadrupled, woven graft was significantly stiffer than the doubled semitendinosus graft and no less stiff than any of the PTG constructs. All grafts showed similar A nd adequate initial absolute strength to reconstruct the ACL. Quadrupling and weaving the
semitendinosus and gracilis graft increases the stiffness of the reconstructed specimen to a level statistically similar to that of specimens reconstructed with a PTG.