New Ligament Discovered in Knee

Christopher C. Dodson, MD November 13th, 2013

 A new knee ligament? That's what two orthopaedic surgeons in Belgium are claiming to have found in a recent study, reported by ABC News.

The doctors appear to have "rediscovered" a ligament on the anterior aspect of the knee, called the anterolateral ligament, or ALL for short. I say rediscovered because the ALL was first identified in 1879 by a French surgeon.

These doctors noted that the ALL appears to be injured during ACL tears and can potentially be responsible for the small percentage of patients who continue to experience instability after ACL reconstruction.

The significance of this rediscovery, while fascinating, remains to be seen. For the small percentage of patients who have persistent knee instability following an intact ACL reconstruction, most orthopaedic surgeons would point to malpositioning or stretching of the graft as the most common cause of the instability.

An unsuccessful ACL surgery can be frustrating for both patients and physicians. If anything is learned from this rediscovery, it's that as clinicians, we need to focus on our patients that don’t respond well to ACL surgery and look to the ALL for potential answers.

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