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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Acromioclavicular joint dislocation: a comparative biomechanical study of the palmaris-longus tendon graft reconstruction with other augmentative methods in cadaveric models

Guntur E Luis*, Chee-Khuen Yong, Deepak A Singh, S Sengupta and David SK Choon

Author Affiliations

Department of Orthopaedics Surgery, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2007, 2:22  doi:10.1186/1749-799X-2-22

Published: 27 November 2007

Abstract

Background

Acromioclavicular injuries are common in sports medicine. Surgical intervention is generally advocated for chronic instability of Rockwood grade III and more severe injuries. Various methods of coracoclavicular ligament reconstruction and augmentation have been described. The objective of this study is to compare the biomechanical properties of a novel palmaris-longus tendon reconstruction with those of the native AC+CC ligaments, the modified Weaver-Dunn reconstruction, the ACJ capsuloligamentous complex repair, screw and clavicle hook plate augmentation.

Hypothesis

There is no difference, biomechanically, amongst the various reconstruction and augmentative methods.

Study Design

Controlled laboratory cadaveric study.

Methods

54 cadaveric native (acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular) ligaments were tested using the Instron machine. Superior loading was performed in the 6 groups: 1) in the intact states, 2) after modified Weaver-Dunn reconstruction (WD), 3) after modified Weaver-Dunn reconstruction with acromioclavicular joint capsuloligamentous repair (WD.ACJ), 4) after modified Weaver-Dunn reconstruction with clavicular hook plate augmentation (WD.CP) or 5) after modified Weaver-Dunn reconstruction with coracoclavicular screw augmentation (WD.BS) and 6) after modified Weaver-Dunn reconstruction with mersilene tape-palmaris-longus tendon graft reconstruction (WD. PLmt). Posterior-anterior (horizontal) loading was similarly performed in all groups, except groups 4 and 5. The respective failure loads, stiffnesses, displacements at failure and modes of failure were recorded. Data analysis was carried out using a one-way ANOVA, with Student's unpaired t-test for unpaired data (S-PLUS statistical package 2005).

Results

Native ligaments were the strongest and stiffest when compared to other modes of reconstruction and augmentation except coracoclavicular screw, in both posterior-anterior and superior directions (p < 0.005).

WD.ACJ provided additional posterior-anterior (P = 0. 039) but not superior (p = 0.250) stability when compared to WD alone.

WD+PLmt, in loads and stiffness at failure superiorly, was similar to WD+CP (p = 0.066). WD+PLmt, in loads and stiffness at failure postero-anteriorly, was similar to WD+ACJ (p = 0.084).

Superiorly, WD+CP had similar strength as WD+BS (p = 0.057), but it was less stiff (p < 0.005).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Modified Weaver-Dunn procedure must always be supplemented with acromioclavicular capsuloligamentous repair to increase posterior-anterior stability. Palmaris-Longus tendon graft provides both additional superior and posterior-anterior stability when used for acromioclavicular capsuloligamentous reconstruction. It is a good alternative to clavicle hook plate in acromioclavicular dislocation.