Allograft anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in a sheep model. The effect of synthetic augmentation.
The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of synthetic augmentation of a bone-patellar tendon-bone allograft on the basis of biomechanical, morphologic, and histologic evaluation. The anterior cruciate ligament was reconstructed in the left knee of 66 adult sheep. Half the knees received bone-patellar tendon-bone grafts alone, while the other half were augmented. All of the knees, including the contralateral controls, had gross and histologic examination, hydroxyproline assay for collagen content, and biomechanical testing in groups at 0, 4, 16, and 52 weeks postoperatively. Biomechanical testing included anteroposterior translation, ultimate tensile strength, energy to failure, stiffness, and mode of failure. Eight fresh bone-patellar tendon-bone allografts were compared to eight cryopreserved bone-patellar tendon-bone allografts for baseline data on the effects of the cryopreservation. Cryopreservation did not have any effect on graft characteristics. Gross and histologic examination did not reveal any significant difference between the augmented and nonaugmented groups at any of the time periods. In addition, hydroxyproline content of the allograft was not altered by augmentation throughout the study period. Biomechanical laboratory evaluation demonstrated the augmented group had significantly reduced anteroposterior translation (P less than 0.05) at 52 weeks compared to the nonaugmented group. The ultimate tensile strength was significantly higher (P less than 0.05) in the augmented group at 4 weeks, but at 52 weeks both groups had attained only 50% of the normal anterior cruciate ligament strength. Stiffness and energy to failure were similar in both groups at all time periods. From the results of this study, synthetic augmentation appears to improve initial strength and prevent late allograft laxity while allowing normal remodeling processes to occur in the bone-patellar tendon-bone allograft anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.
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