Does anterolateral ligament injury change the treatment option in patients with partial ACL tears?


anterior cruciate ligament ; partial ACL tear ; anterolateral ligament ; arthroscopic reconstruction ; MRI

Published online: Sep 14 2021

Burak Gunaydin, Tugba Ilkem Kurtoglu Ozcaglayan, Mehmet Umit Cetin, Abdulkadir Sari, Yasar Mahsut Dincel, Cagatay Tekin

From the Tekirdag Namik Kemal University Medical Faculty, Orthopaedics and Traumatology Department, Turkey


Patients with ACL tears with ALL injury have more clinical complaints (instability, feeling of the pop on the knee or knee sliding). patients have ALL injury with partial ACL tears, It is unclear whether the choice of treatment will be conservative or surgical.

This study aimed to determine the effect of anterolateral ligament (ALL) status, whether intact or ruptured, on the choice of conservative or surgical treatment in patients with partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.

Between 2015 and 2019, patients with suspected partial ACL tears were identified on both physical examination and MR imaging. 122 patients who had partial ACL tears and also status of patient’s ALL could be evaluated by radiologist were included in the study, retrospectively.

Sixty-two patients who underwent ACL reconstruction were determined as group 1, and 60 patients who did not undergo ACL reconstruction were defined as group 2. In patients with partial ACL rupture with or without ACL reconstruction, it was evaluated whether a ruptured or non- ruptured ALL was effective in this decision of conservative or surgically.

The MRIs of patients with partial ACL tears were evaluated by a radiologist and it was concluded that the ALLs of 50 patients were ruptured, and 72 were intact. The ALLs of 36 patients in group 1 were ruptured, and 26 patients were intact. Fourteen patients in group 2 had ruptured ALLs, 46 patient’s ALLs were intact. Seventy-two percent of the patients with partial ACL tears who had ruptured ALLs in MRI underwent ACL reconstruction.

It was found that ACL reconstruction was performed more frequently in patients with partial ACL tears with ALL rupture. Therefore, we believe that preoperative evaluations of ALLs using MRI in patients with partial ACL tears are essential for surgical planning.