Instrumented Lachman tests for the evaluation of anterior laxity after reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament.

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Using a KT-1000 arthrometer, in fifty subjects were measured the anterior ligamentous laxity in a knee in which the anterior cruciate ligament had been reconstructed and in the normal, contralateral knee. We also determined the anterior tibial displacement and anterior compliance, using the Lachman test. The subjects were divided into groups according to the type of autogenous intra-articular substitute (either the central one-third of the patellar tendon or the semitendinosus tendon) that had been used for the anterior cruciate ligament and according to the duration of follow-up (range, twenty-four to 101 months). Lachman tests were performed, applying sixty-eight and ninety newtons of force, and indices for anterior compliance were calculated. Although significantly more anterior laxity was demonstrated with both sixty-eight and ninety newtons of force in the reconstructed knees than in the contralateral, normal knees (p less than 0.001), thirteen subjects, of whom eight lacked full extension of the reconstructed knee, had more anterior laxity in the normal knee. Analyses of variance showed no significant differences in the results of the Lachman tests as related to either the type of reconstruction or the length of postoperative follow-up. The results suggested that the two types of ligamentous substitute that were used in this study were equally efficient in limiting anterior tibial displacement, as demonstrated by the Lachman test. The study also demonstrated that the substitutes did not elongate significantly during the period of the study.

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