An improved understanding of the anatomy of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in recent years has generated a renewed interest in the evaluation of surgical techniques to repair the knee ligament. In a study to be presented at the 2009 American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine Specialty Day in Las Vegas, researchers analyzed various aspects of two of the most common ACL reconstruction techniques.
“Studies have demonstrated improved movement and stability with restoration of the native anatomy of the knee. However, the surgical technique to achieve the best movement and stability outcomes remains controversial”, says lead author Asheesh Bedi, MD of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
Bedi worked with senior mentors Dr. David W. Altchek and Dr. Riley J. Williams on studying the anatomy and stability of ACL reconstructions using transtibial versus anteromedial portal drilling techniques on 19 cadaveric knees. Femoral socket position was characterized using high-resolution 3D-fluoroscopy with transtibial and anteromedial portal drilling. “While anteromedial portal drilling allows for excellent access and restoration of the femoral ACL footprint, there is a significant learning curve. There can be an increased risk of shorter femoral tunnels and wall blow-out intraoperatively” says Dr. Riley Williams, the senior author and Associate Attending Surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Follow-up studies have evaluated the biomechanical stability of ACL reconstructions completed with transtibial and anteromedial portal techniques. “The anteromedial portal drilling technique allowed for better restoration of native ACL anatomy and knee stability compared to conventional transtibial techniques. We also found that re-reaming of the tibial tunnel is a bigger issue than has been previously recognized with transtibial drilling” says Dr. David Altchek, senior author and Co-Chief of the Sports Medicine Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Bedi and Altchek will be presenting the second part of their study at the 2009 AOSSM Annual Meeting in Keystone, CO. “Continued research into the best techniques for ACL stabilization are ongoing and a vital part of getting athlete’s back into play at a quicker rate. We are working to define these techniques in the lab and have them translated into the operating room” says Altchek.
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