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The regeneration of sensory neurones in the reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament

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We examined whether somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) were detectable after direct electrical stimulation of injured, reconstructed and normal anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) during arthroscopy under general anaesthesia. We investigated the position sense of the knee before and after reconstruction and the correlation between the SEP and instability.

We found detectable SEPs in all ligaments which had been reconstructed with autogenous semitendinosus and gracilis tendons over the past 18 months as well as in all cases of the normal group. The SEP was detectable in only 15 out of 32 cases in the injured group, although the voltages in the injured group were significantly lower than those of the controls. This was not the case in the reconstructed group. The postoperative position sense in 17 knees improved significantly, but there was no correlation between it and the voltage. The voltage of stable knees was significantly higher than that of the unstable joints. Our findings showed that sensory reinnervation occurred in the reconstructed human ACL and was closely related to the function of the knee.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr M. Ochi.

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