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Knee News

Quadriceps Tendon Graft Used to Repair PCL

Damage to the ligaments of the knee are fairly common injuries. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is affected most often. Many studies have been done to find the best treatment for this injury. Tears to the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) are not as common. Researchers report PCL injury occurs between 3.4 and 20 percent of the time.

Treatment for PCL tears isn't standard. This means there isn't one best way to repair the damage. Doctors in Taiwan report on their success using a tendon graft from the knee. They took a piece of the quadriceps tendon above the kneecap and used it as a graft to replace the torn PCL. The quadriceps tendon is wider and thicker than the patellar tendon, which is located below the kneecap. The quadriceps tendon is also 1.36 times stronger than the patellar tendon.

Measures of success included patient satisfaction, motion, function, and strength. The amount of knee looseness or laxity was measured. Patients also reported any symptoms. Each patient was examined before the operation and again at one year, two years, and three years (or more) after the operation.

The authors report that 83 percent of the patients had good or excellent results. More than half could return to activities at a moderate to strenuous level. Only 14 percent had too much joint laxity. Strength returned to 80 percent of normal for most patients. However, only about half could regain up to 90 percent of their full strength. Flexion was stronger than extension in all patients.

There are many reasons to use a quadriceps tendon graft to repair a torn PCL. The authors of this study review the pros and cons of this treatment method. They suggest this graft is a reasonably good choice. Rehab afterwards is still very important for all patients. This includes athletes and patients who aren't involved in sports or strenuous activities.


Chih-Hwa Chen, et al. Arthroscopic Posterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction with Quadriceps Tendon Autograft: Minimal Three Years Follow-up. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. January/February 2004. Vol. 32. No. 1. Pp. 361-368.

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