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Distribution of Posterior Tibial Displacement in Knees with Posterior Cruciate Ligament Tears
Martin S. Schulz, MD1; Eric S. Steenlage, MD2; Kai Russe, MD3; Michael J. Strobel, MD1
1 Orthopaedische Gemeinschaftspraxis Straubing, Bahnhofsplatz 8, 94315 Straubing, Germany. E-mail address for M.S. Schulz: ms.schu@web.de
2 Atlanta Orthopedics, 545 Old Norcross Road, Suite 300, Lawrenceville, GA 30045
3 Klinik für Unfallchirurgie Universitätsklinikum Essen, Hufelandstrasse 50, 45122 Essen, Germany
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Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at Orthopaedische Gemeinschaftspraxis Straubing, Straubing, Germany

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2007 Feb 01;89(2):332-338. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.C.00834
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Background: While stress radiography has been used to objectively determine the limits of posterior tibial displacement in knees with posterior cruciate ligament tears, the magnitude and distribution of posterior tibial translation has not been defined in a large population of patients with this injury.

Methods: A retrospective diagnostic study of 1041 consecutive patients with posterior cruciate ligament tears was done. Posterior tibial displacement values that were obtained with use of instrumented stress radiography with the knee held in 90° of flexion in the Telos device were evaluated and compared with the values from relevant cadaveric dissection studies.

Results: The mean amount of posterior tibial displacement on stress radiographs was -11.58 ± 4.31 mm (range, -5 to -30 mm). There was a displacement peak in the range of -9 to -12 mm, with 37.9% of patients exhibiting posterior laxity within this range. Traffic-related injuries were associated with significantly greater displacement values than were sports-related injuries (p < 0.001). Grade-I or II instability (12 mm of posterior tibial displacement) occurred in association with 68.7% of the sports-related injuries, compared with 54.1% of the traffic-related injuries (p < 0.001). The mean amount of posterior tibial displacement on the intact side was -1.31 ± 1.85 mm (range, -6 to 4 mm).

Conclusions: Instrumented stress radiography is a useful testing method for objectively determining the amount of posterior tibial displacement of the knee in adults with a posterior cruciate ligament injury. Absolute posterior tibial displacement in excess of 8 mm is indicative of complete insufficiency of the posterior cruciate ligament. With tibial displacement exceeding 12 mm, additional injury of secondary restraining structures should be considered. We recommend the use of stress radiography to grade and classify posterior knee laxity.

Level of Evidence: Diagnostic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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