The aim of the study was to investigate whether use of short bone blocks is safe in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Our hypothesis was that the smaller 10-mm-length bone blocks will fail at lower loads than 20-mm-bone blocks. Ten paired human cadaver knees were randomly assigned to the 10- or 20-mm group (group 1 and 2) and underwent bone-patellar tendon-bone femoral fixation with interference screw. Tensile tests were performed using a tensile testing machine (Instron). Stiffness, failure load and failure mode were recorded. Median stiffness was 72 N/mm (16-103) for 10-mm-bone blocks and 91 N/mm (40-130) for 20-mm-bone blocks. Median failure loads were 402 N (87-546) for 10-mm-long bone block and 456 N (163-636) for 20-mm-bone blocks. There was no statistically significant difference between groups (P = 0.35). All bone-patellar tendon-bone grafts were pulled out of the femoral tunnel with interference screw, due to slippage. We concluded that a 10-mm-long bone block was not significantly weaker than a 20-mm-long bone block. Failure loads of a 10-mm-bone block exceeded loading values at passive and active extension of the knee under normal conditions. Ten millimetre bone blocks offered sufficient fixation strength in ACL reconstruction.

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Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Meuffels, D., Niggebrugge, M., & Verhaar, J. (2009). Failure load of patellar tendon grafts at the femoral side: 10- versus 20-mm-bone blocks. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, 17(2), 135–139. doi:10.1007/s00167-008-0631-x