The effect of posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction on patellofemoral contact pressures in the knee joint under simulated muscle loads.

Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.
The American Journal of Sports Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.36). 01/2004; 32(1):109-15.
Source: PubMed


The mechanism of cartilage degeneration in the patellofemoral joint (PFJ) and medial compartment of the knee following posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury remains unclear. PCL reconstruction has been recommended to restore kinematics and prevent long-term degeneration. The effect of current reconstruction techniques on PFJ contact pressures is unknown.
To measure PFJ contact pressures after PCL deficiency and reconstruction.
Eight cadaveric knees were tested with the PCL intact, deficient, and reconstructed. Contact pressures were measured at 30 degrees, 60 degrees, 90 degrees, and 120 degrees of flexion under simulated muscle loads. Knee kinematics were measured by a robotic testing system, and the PFJ contact pressures were measured using a thin film transducer. A single bundle achilles tendon allograft was used in the reconstruction.
PCL deficiency significantly increased the peak contact pressures measured in the PFJ relative to the intact knee under both an isolated quadriceps load of 400 N and a combined quadriceps/hamstrings load of 400 N/200 N. Reconstruction did not significantly reduce the increased contact pressures observed in the PCL-deficient knee.
The elevated contact pressures observed in the PCL-deficient knee and reconstructed knee might contribute to the long-term degeneration observed in both the non-operatively treated and PCL-reconstructed knees.

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    • "To date mainly in-vitro models [8-12] or combined in-vivo magnetic resonance and fluoroscopic systems [13,14] have been used for quantifying the importance of the PCL as a passive joint stabilizer and the analysis of tibiofemoral translation and rotation patterns in humans. However, in-vitro models bare the handicap of limited muscle simulation resulting in an impairment of their significance with regard to the in-vivo situation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) plays an important role in maintaining physiological kinematics and function of the knee joint. To date mainly in-vitro models or combined magnetic resonance and fluoroscopic systems have been used for quantifying the importance of the PCL. We hypothesized, that both tibiofemoral and patellofemoral kinematic patterns are changed in PCL-deficient knees, which is increased by isometric muscle flexion. Therefore the aim of this study was to simultaneously investigate tibiofemoral and patellofemoral 3D kinematics in patients suffering from PCL deficiency during different knee flexion angles and under neuromuscular activation. Methods We enrolled 12 patients with isolated PCL-insufficiency as well as 20 healthy volunteers. Sagittal MR-images of the knee joint were acquired in different positions of the knee joint (0°, 30°, 90° flexion, with and without flexing isometric muscle activity) on a 0.2 Tesla open MR-scanner. After segmentation of the patella, femur and tibia local coordinate systems were established to define the spatial position of these structures in relation to each other. Results At full extension and 30° flexion no significant difference was observed in PCL-deficient knee joints neither for tibiofemoral nor for patellofemoral kinematics. At 90° flexion the femur of PCL-deficient patients was positioned significantly more anteriorly in relation to the tibia and both, the patellar tilt and the patellar shift to the lateral side, significantly increased compared to healthy knee joints. While no significant effect of isometric flexing muscle activity was observed in healthy individuals, in PCL-deficient knee joints an increased paradoxical anterior translation of the femur was observed at 90° flexion compared to the status of muscle relaxation. Conclusions Significant changes in tibiofemoral and patellofemoral joint kinematics occur in patients with isolated PCL-insufficiency above 30 degrees of flexion compared to healthy volunteers. Since this could be one reasonable mechanism in the development of osteoarthritis (OA) our results might help to understand the long-term development of tibiofemoral and/or patellofemoral OA in PCL-insufficient knee joints.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
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    • "To evaluate the effectiveness of surgical treatment, few experimental studies have been conducted to measure the tibiofemoral and patellofemoral forces after PCL surgery (Kanamori et al., 2000; Skyhar et al., 1993). Gill et al. (2004) measured the contact pressures induced by ''native'', deficient and reconstructed PCL in the patellofemoral joint for different angles of knee flexion , by using a thin film transducer. They observed that contact pressures were higher for a PCL-deficient knee and for a reconstructed knee, which might contribute to the long-term degeneration observed in both nonoperatively treated and PCL-reconstructed knees. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous experimental studies have been conducted to evaluate the biomechanical effects of posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction; but no consensus has been reached on the preferred method of reconstruction. The 3D finite element mesh of a knee joint was reconstructed from computed tomography and magnetic resonance images. The ligaments were considered as hyperelastic materials. The tibiofemoral and patellofemoral joints were modeled with large sliding contact elements. The 3D model was used to simulate knee flexion from 0 degrees to 90 degrees in four cases: a knee with a "native" posterior cruciate ligament, a resected posterior cruciate ligament, a reconstructed single graft posterior cruciate ligament, and a reconstructed double graft posterior cruciate ligament. A resected posterior cruciate ligament induced high compressive forces in the medial tibiofemoral and patellofemoral compartments. The pressures generated in the tibiofemoral and patellofemoral compartments were nearly the same for the two reconstruction techniques (single graft and double graft). The single graft resulted in lower tensile stresses inside the graft than for the double graft. Firstly, a resected posterior cruciate ligament should be replaced to avoid excessive compressive forces, which are a source of cartilage degeneration. Secondly, the two types of posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction techniques partially restored the biomechanics of the knee in flexion, e.g. contact pressures were restored for pure flexion of the knee. The reconstruction techniques therefore partially restore the biomechanics of the knee in flexion. A double graft reconstruction is subjected to the highest tensile stresses.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2005 · Clinical Biomechanics
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    ABSTRACT: Altered patellofemoral joint contact pressures are thought to contribute to patellofemoral joint symptoms. However, little is known about the relationship between tibiofemoral joint kinematics and patellofemoral joint contact pressures. The objective of this paper was to investigate the effect of tibiofemoral joint kinematics on patellofemoral joint pressures using an established in vitro robotic testing experimental setup. Eight cadaveric knee specimens were tested at 0 degrees, 30 degrees, 60 degrees, 90 degrees, and 120 degrees of flexion under an isolated quadriceps load of 400 N and a combined quadriceps/hamstrings load of 400 N/200 N. Tibiofemoral joint kinematics were measured by the robot and contact pressures by a TekScan pressure sensor. The isolated quadriceps loading caused anterior translation and internal rotation of the tibia up to 60 degrees of flexion and posterior translation and external rotation of the tibia beyond 60 degrees. The co-contraction of the hamstring muscles caused a posterior translation and external rotation of the tibia relative to the motion of the tibia under the quadriceps load. Correspondingly, the contact pressures were elevated significantly at all flexion angles. For example, at 60 degrees of flexion, the hamstrings co-contraction increased the posterior tibial translation by approximately 2.8 mm and external tibial rotation by approximately 3.6 degrees. The peak contact pressure increased from 1.4+/-0.8 to 1.7+/-1.0 MPa, a 15% increase. The elevated contact pressures after hamstrings co-contraction indicates an intrinsic relation between the tibiofemoral joint kinematics and the patellofemoral joint biomechanics. An increase in posterior tibial translation and external rotation is accompanied by an increase in contact pressure in the patellofemoral joint. These results imply that excessive strength conditioning with the hamstring muscles might not be beneficial to the patellofemoral joint. Knee pathology that causes an increase in tibial posterior translation and external rotation might contribute to degeneration of the patellofemoral joint. These results suggest that conservative treatment of posterior cruciate ligament injury should be reconsidered.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2004 · Journal of Orthopaedic Research
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