Reconstruction of the cranial cruciate ligament using a semitendinosus autograft in a lapine model


Objective: To clarify and improve a cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) deficient stifle stabilization technique using a semitendinosus tendon (ST) autograft fixed with an interference fit screw (IFS) in a closed-joint trauma lapine osteoarthritis (OA) model. Study Design: Experimental OA model. Animals: Forty-one Flemish Giant rabbits. Methods: Following arthrotomy of traumatized lapine stifles, the ST insertion on the tibial plateau was exposed and the ST was transected near its origin. The graft was passed through tibial and femoral tunnels, manually tensioned and then secured in place with a custom IFS and periosteal sutures. Drawer was manually assessed during and immediately after surgery intraoperatively. Upon euthanasia, joint laxity was measured at 2, 10, or 22 weeks postoperatively and compared to that of the contralateral, intact stifles and stifles with a surgically transected CrCL. Results: Minimal postoperative drawer was present in 34% of the rabbits and potentially correlated with meniscal injury and subsequent meniscectomy. CrCL reconstruction significantly reduced joint laxity to a level (3.6 ± 1.6 mm) similar to that (2.7 ± 0.8 mm) in contralateral intact stifles. Conclusion: Surgical replacement of a traumatically injured CrCL using a ST autograft fixed with an IFS replicated a common human surgical technique and effectively restored joint stability in the short, medium, and long terms of the study. Clinical Significance: The study provides researchers a useful, clinically relevant, post-traumatic CrCL deficient rabbit model for the study of OA and investigations of interventions to mitigate or prevent long-term joint degeneration.

Publication Title

Veterinary Surgery