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8th Combined Meeting Of Orthopaedic Research Societies (CORS)


Summary Statement

ACL reconstruction using a quadriceps tendon autograft was quantitatively evaluated using a robotic testing system. Biomechanical results on joint stability and graft function support its use as an alternative to the hamstrings.


Recently, a number of surgeons have chosen the quadriceps tendon (QT) autograft as an alternative autograft over the hamstrings tendon for ACL reconstruction because its bone-to-bone healing on one side, large size, and preservation of lateral and rotatory knee function could lead to fewer post-operative complications. However, there have been little or no biomechanical studies that quantitatively evaluate knee function after reconstruction using a QT autograft. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the function of a reconstructed knee with a QT autograft and compare the results with a quadrupled semitendinosus and gracilis (QSTG) tendon autograft on the same knee.


Ten human cadaveric knees (57.4 ± 4.2 years of age) were tested using a robotic/UFS testing system in 4 knee states: intact, ACL-deficient, and after ACL reconstruction with both QT and QSTG autografts. Reconstructions were performed in randomised order using posterolateral femoral tunnel placement. The knee kinematics in each state were measured at 5 flexion angles (full extension, 15°, 30°, 60°, and 90°) under 3 externally applied loading conditions: (1) 134 N anterior tibial load (ATL), (2) 134 N ATL with 200 N axial compression, and combined rotatory (CR) load of 10 Nm valgus and 5 Nm internal tibial torque (at 15° and 30°). Based on the established procedure, knee kinematics and in-situ forces were obtained using the principle of superposition. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare anterior tibial translation (ATT) and in-situ forces between the knee states at each flexion angle, with a Bonferroni post-hoc analysis.


Under the ATL, the ATT was found to be restored to within 1.1 mm of the intact knee for both reconstructions (P > 0.05). The in-situ forces in the grafts were also not significantly different from those in the intact ACL except in deep flexion (P < 0.05 at 90° for both grafts). With added axial compression, both reconstructions could still restore the ATT to within 2.4 mm of the intact joint at all flexion angles, and the in-situ forces in both grafts were within 25 N of the intact ACL at 15°, 30°, and 60° (P > 0.05). Under the CR load, knee kinematics and in-situ forces in the grafts were not significantly different from the intact ACL at any tested angle (P > 0.05). Further, no significant differences could be detected between the reconstructions under any experimental condition (P > 0.05).


ACL reconstruction with a QT autograft was found to restore knee function close to levels of the intact knee and similar to those reconstructed with a QSTG autograft. These results support clinical findings suggesting the QT autograft as a viable alternative for ACL reconstruction.