Colorado Knee Specialist Robert LaPrade, MD Publishes New Studies Covering the Function of the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) and Treatments for PCL Injuries

This two-part study on the posterior cruciate ligament - PCL injuries and PCL reconstruction - by Dr. Robert LaPrade found that double bundle PCL reconstruction more closely represented a stable functioning knee.

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Robert LaPrade, MD analyzes the anatomy and treatment of the PCL in a cadaver knee

Robotic Analysis of Anatomy and Treatment of the PCL in a Cadaver Knee

Vail, Colorado (PRWEB) November 07, 2013

Colorado knee specialist Robert LaPrade MD, PhD recently completed a two-part study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine on the anatomy and treatment of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). The first study was entitled: Kinematic Analysis of the Posterior Cruciate Ligament, Part 1: The Individual and Collective Function of the Anterolateral and Posteromedial Bundles, and the second study was entitled: Kinematic Analysis of the Posterior Cruciate Ligament, Part 2: A Comparison of Anatomic Single- Versus Double-Bundle Reconstruction. As Chief Medical Research Officer at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colorado, Dr. LaPrade is among few in the sports medicine community who specialize in the treatment of PCL injuries.

The posterior cruciate ligament is one of four major ligaments in the knee and connects the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone). The PCL is the strongest ligament in the knee and accounts for 3-37 percent of all knee injuries. Historically, there has been little known on the exact function and proper treatment techniques due to the low frequency of PCL injuries.

The first part of the study analyzed the function of the PCL. Previous research by LaPrade’s research group has found that the PCL is composed of two functional bundles - the anterolateral bundle (ALB) and the posteromedial bundle (PMB) – which have very precise attachment sites which can be identified arthroscopically during PCL surgery. However, there is little known on the role of each individual bundle for knee function and stability. The purpose of this study was to determine the primary function of the isolated PCL bundles at varying degrees of knee flexion.

Twenty matched-paired human cadaveric knees (mean age: 55.2 years; 6 males and 4 female pairs) and a six degrees of freedom robotic system were used to assess knee stability with different anterior and posterior forces at varying degrees of knee flexions. The study found that both the ALB and the PMB assume a significant role in knee stability and depend upon each other for proper knee function. The study also found that the PCL provides a significant constraint to internal rotation beyond 90˚ of flexion.

The second part of the study analyzed the effectiveness of two different PCL reconstruction(PCLR) techniques: the anatomic single bundle (aSB), which is performed by >90% of sports surgeons, and the anatomic double-bundle (aDB). The hypothesis of this study was that the anatomic double-bundle (aDB) PCLR technique would provide significantly better functionality and knee stability as compared with an aSB PCL reconstruction.

A total of eighteen matched-paired human cadaveric knees (mean age: 54.8 years; 5 male and 4 female pairs) were used to evaluate an intact PCL, an aSB and aDB PCL reconstruction, and a completely sectioned PCL to assess the effectiveness of the different treatment techniques. The study used a six degree of freedom robotics system while applying anterior and posterior forces at varying degrees of knee flexions. The hypothesis was correct, and the study found that an aDB PCL reconstruction more closely represented the function and stability of a healthy knee.

These two studies have enhanced the overall knowledge of PCL injuries in the sports medicine community. Colorado knee specialist Dr. LaPrade continues to involve himself in medical research to enhance his knowledge on PCL injuries and the most effective PCL reconstruction techniques.

About Dr. LaPrade

As a Colorado knee specialist at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado Dr. Robert F. LaPrade has been continuously awarded as “one of the Best Doctors in America”. Contributing heavily to research, Dr. LaPrade serves as the Chief Medical Officer, Deputy Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and Director of the International Research Scholar Program at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute. Dr. LaPrade specializes in posterolateral knee (PLC) injuries, PCL tears, revision of ACL reconstructions, meniscal transplants, and all complex knee injuries.


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