ACL rupture and joint laxity progression: a quantitative in vivo analysis

C. Signorelli, G. Filardo, T. Bonanzinga, A. Grassi, S. Zaffagnini, M. Marcacci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Benefits of an early reconstruction and the optimal time lapse between injury and surgery to reduce the effects of altered kinematics in ACL-deficient knees are still controversial. Aim: The aim of this study was to clarify, through a quantitative in vivo evaluation, the effects of the time lapse between ACL injury and surgery in terms of changes in the pre-operative knee laxity. Methods: An in vivo study was performed on 99 patients who underwent ACL surgery. Just before the graft fixation, six laxity tests were performed for all the subjects at manual-maximum load: anterior–posterior displacement and internal–external rotation at 30° and 90° of knee flexion (AP30, AP90, IE30, IE90) as well as varus–valgus rotation (VV0, VV30) at 0° and 30° of flexion. Kinematics data were acquired by a navigation system. The Spearman rank correlation was used to assess correlation between rank and continuous data. Significance was set at P = 0.05. Results: The analysis highlighted a significant influence of the injury-to-surgery time lapse on VV0 and AP90 compared with pre-operative laxity levels. Meniscus status also significantly affected the pre-operative laxity in the VV0 (Spearman's ρ = 0.203, P = 0.038; GLM with meniscal correction partial η = 0.27, P = 0.007) and AP90 (Spearman's ρ = 0.329, P = 0.001; GLM with meniscal correction partial η = 0.318, P = 0.017) tests. Conclusion: The main finding of this study is that patients with ACL rupture and a higher injury-to-surgery time present higher values of knee laxity involving AP90 displacement and VV30 rotation. Clinical relevance of the study is that ACL-deficient joint laxity, involving anterior–posterior displacement at 90° of knee flexion and varus–valgus rotation at 0° of flexion, is significantly affected by the lapse of injury-to-surgery time. This highlights the importance of considering the effects of delaying surgery when managing patients with such deficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 7 2016


  • ACL injury
  • Laxity
  • Navigation
  • Time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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