Background: There is significant interest in the restoration of the double-bundle anatomy of the native ACL when performing ACL reconstruction. Possible techniques include those utilizing two separate grafts with independent tunnels and those that attempt to mimic this anatomy with a single graft and fewer tunnels. Many of the latter techniques require specific instrumentation and are technically challenging. We demonstrate that the double-bundle anatomy of the native ACL can theoretically be mimicked by a single-bundle reconstruction.
Methods: We performed single bundle ACL reconstruction with a bone-patellar tendon-bone (BTB) graft in two cadaveric knees. Both grafts were placed to mimic the native ACL footprints – one reconstruction was performed with rectangular bone blocks and oval tunnels and one was performed utilizing a standard BTB graft and round tunnels. Qualitative assessment of graft behavior was made as the knees were taken through a range of motion.
Results: The ACL graft was able to qualitatively mimic the behavior of the native ACL in both knees provided the bone blocks were correctly orientated.
Conclusions: ACL reconstruction with a single BTB graft can qualitatively mimic the behavior of the two bundles of the native ACL. The key to ensuring this behavior was noted to be appropriate orientation of the graft in the tunnels. Quantitative biomechanical investigations are necessary to evaluate the impact of graft orientation on function.