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Surgeons Describe Anterolateral Ligament in the Human Knee

Knee surgeons in Belgium have provided the first full anatomical description of a human knee ligament that may play a role in anterior cruciate ligament tears. Research indicates that the anterolateral ligament (ALL) is present in 97% of all human knees, and that pivot shift is caused by an injury in that ligament.

‪The research could bring on changes to methods of treatment for serious ACL injuries. The surgeons, Dr. Steven Claes and Professor Dr. Johan Bellemans of University Hospitals Leuven, are studying a technique to correct ALL injuries. ‬

Dr. Al Getgood, an associate professor at Western University Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and an orthopedic surgeon at the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic in Canada, notes that the anterolateral ligament "is not a new ligament as many media reports have suggested," but that "only recently has its function and its role in ACL injury and reconstruction been better understood."

Dr. Getgood and his colleagues at Western's Interdisciplinary Development Initiative in Bone & Joint Health are collaborating with Drs. Claes and Bellemans to further understand the ligament's function. In 2014, Dr. Getgood will lead a multi-center randomized study in Canada and Europe, supported with grants from the International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, to investigate whether the addition of ALL reconstruction to standard ACL reconstruction will help to reduce graft failure after ACL surgery.


Surgeons describe new ligament in the human knee, KU Leuven, November 2013.

Orthopaedic surgeon says anterolateral ligament not "new" but promising for ACL injuries, Western University, November 3, 2013.


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