The posterior cruciate ligament–posterior femoral cortex angle (PCL–PCA) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sign are useful parameters to indicate the progression of knee decompensation over time after an ACL injury

Jakub Oronowicz, Caroline Mouton, Charles Pioger, Jérôme Valcarenghi, Thomas Tischer, Romain Seil*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The posterior cruciate ligament–posterior cortex angle (angle between the most vertical part of the anterolateral PCL bundle and the posterior diaphyseal cortex of the femur; PCL–PCA) is the most accurate approach to describe the PCL buckling phenomenon observed in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)-deficient knees. The aim of this study was to determine whether the PCL–PCA is associated with chronicity of the ACL rupture, the meniscal status, preoperative knee laxity or imaging signs such as the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sign or the posterior tibial slope (PTS) in ACL-injured knees. Methods: Patients with a primary ACL reconstruction (ACLR) after physeal closure were selected retrospectively from a hospital-based ACL registry from 2015 to 2021. Exclusion criteria were: previous ipsilateral/contralateral knee surgery, previous ipsilateral ACL or meniscal tear, ipsilateral PCL and/or collateral ligament injuries or tibial plateau fracture. The ACL deficiency was defined as chronic if time from injury to MRI was > 6 months. The meniscal status was assessed during ACLR, separately for the medial and lateral meniscus, and classified into no tear, minor or major unstable tear. The MRI analyses included the assessment of the PCL–PCA and the LCL sign. PTS was assessed from the lateral plain radiographs of the injured knee. The side-to-side difference in anterior tibial translation (ATT) at 200N was obtained with the GNRB. Results: Eighty-two patients (forty-eight males/thirty-four females) were included in this study. The median PCL–PCA was 16.2° (Q1–Q3: 10.6–24.7) and differed between acute (18.4°) and chronic (10.7°) injuries (p < 0.01). The median PCL–PCA was significantly lower (− 4.6°) in patients with a positive LCL sign (p = 0.03) No significant association could be found between PCL–PCA and meniscal status, PTS or preoperative anterior knee laxity (Lachman, pivot shift and ATT in millimetres). Conclusion: The PCL–PCA was significantly lower in chronic ACL injuries and in patients with a positive LCL sign, indicating a higher buckling phenomenon of the PCL in these patients. These results support the fact that PCL–PCA and the LCL sign may be useful parameters to indicate the progression of knee decompensation over time after an ACL injury, and therefore may constitute a helpful tool to optimise treatment choice and timing of ACL reconstruction if necessary. Level of evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5128-5136
Number of pages9
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Volume31
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Anterior cruciate ligament
  • Chronicity
  • Knee decompensation
  • PCL angle

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