Microstructural and Mechanical Properties of Grafts Commonly Used for Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Ryan M. Castile, Matthew J. Jenkins, Spencer P. Lake, Robert H. Brophy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background:Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament and posterior cruciate ligament are common, and often are treated with reconstruction. Limited quantitative data are available describing material properties of grafts used for reconstructions such as the bone-patellar tendon-bone (BPTB), hamstring tendon (HS), and quadriceps tendon (QT). The purpose of this study was to quantify and compare microstructural and mechanical properties of BPTB, HS, and QT grafts.Methods:Forty specimens (13 BPTB, 13 HS, and 14 QT grafts) from 24 donors were used. Specimens were subjected to preconditioning, stress relaxation, and ramp to failure. Mechanical parameters were calculated for each sample, and polarization imaging was used to evaluate the direction and strength of collagen fiber alignment during testing.Results:QT had the largest modulus values, and HS had the smallest. BPTB exhibited the least disperse collagen organization, while HS were the least strongly aligned. Microstructural properties showed more strongly aligned collagen with increasing load for all grafts. All tissues showed stress relaxation and subtle microstructural changes during the hold period.Conclusions:The mechanical and microstructural properties differed significantly among BPTB, HS, and QT grafts. QT exhibited the largest moduli and greatest strength of collagen alignment, while HS had the smallest moduli and least strongly aligned collagen.Clinical Relevance:This study identified mechanical and microstructural differences among common grafts and between these grafts and the cruciate ligaments they replace. Further research is needed to properly interpret the clinical relevance of these differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1948-1955
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 18 2020


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