Purpose: The purpose of this study was to measure the semitendinosus tendon graft shift at the tunnel aperture with graft bending using a simulated femoral bone tunnel. Methods: Eight semitendinosus tendon grafts were used in this study. The median age of the specimen was 53 years (range 46–63). After stripping excess soft tissue, the semitendinosus tendon was doubled over the loop of the EndoButton CL (Smith and Nephew Inc.). The diameter of the graft was measured using a graft-sizing tube (Smith and Nephew Inc.) and verified to be 7.0 mm. A custom-made aluminium fixture, the size was 40.0 mm3, with 7.0-mm-diameter hole was used as a simulated femoral bone tunnel. The graft was inserted to the tunnel, and EndoButton was positioned to the outside of the tunnel on the fixture. The distal end of the graft was tensioned with 30 N at an angle of 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 75° that reproduced the graft bending angle during knee range of motion. The photograph of the tunnel aperture was taken at each graft bending angle using a digital camera, and the graft shift amount in the simulated tunnel was analysed using the computer software (ImageJ). Results: The amount of the graft shift significantly increased when the graft bending angle was increased (P < 0.05). The biggest shift was observed when the graft bending angle was 75° in all specimens, and the value was 1.10 mm ± 0.12. Conclusion: The present study suggests that even if the femoral tunnel was created in the centre of the ACL insertion site, the graft shifted within the tunnel in the direction of the tension applied to the graft during knee range of motion. Surgeons may have to consider the graft shift within the bone tunnel as well as the tunnel position in the restoration of the native ACL anatomy.
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Femoral tunnel
- Graft shift
- Soft tissue graft
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine