Patellofemoral contact pressures and lateral patellar translation after medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction.
ABSTRACT Overtensioning of medial patellofemoral ligament reconstructions may lead to adverse surgical outcomes.
Increasing tension on a medial patellofemoral ligament graft will increase patellofemoral contact forces and decrease lateral patellar translation.
Controlled laboratory study.
Patellofemoral contact pressures were measured in 8 fresh-frozen cadaveric knees before and after transection of the medial patellofemoral ligament and after a standardized reconstruction surgery. Contact pressures were measured at 3 knee angles (30 degrees , 60 degrees , and 90 degrees ) and under 3 levels of tension applied to the graft (2, 10, and 40 N). For each condition, patellar translation was measured at 30 degrees of knee flexion as a 22-N lateral force was applied.
Graft tension of 2 N restored normal translation, but 10 N and 40 N significantly restricted motion (5.2 mm and 1.9 mm, respectively). Compared with the intact knee, medial patellofemoral contact pressures significantly increased (P < .05) when 40 N of tension was applied to the reconstruction. Medial contact pressures were restored to normal with 2 N of graft tension. Lateral patellar translation was significantly greater (P < .05) after the medial patellofemoral ligament was cut (16.3 mm) compared with intact (7.7 mm).
Low (2-N) tension applied to a medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction stabilized the patella and did not increase medial patellofemoral contact pressures. Higher loads (10 N and 40 N) progressively restricted lateral patellar translation and inappropriately redistributed patellofemoral contact pressures.
Overtensioning can be avoided by applying low loads to medial patellofemoral ligament reconstructions, which reestablished normal translation and patellofemoral contact pressures.
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