Below Knee Impact Responses using Cadaveric Specimens 2004-22-0004
Knee injuries represent about 10% of all injuries suffered during car crashes. Efforts to assess the injury risk to the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) have been based on a study available in the literature (Viano et al., 1978), in which only two of the five knees tested had PCL ruptures. The aims of the current study were to repeat the study with a higher number of samples, study the effects of other soft tissues on knee response, and assess the adequacy of the experimental setup for the identification of a PCL tolerance. A total of 14 knees were tested using a high-speed materials testing machine. Eight were intact knees (with the patella and all the muscular and ligamentous structures), three were PCL-only knees (patella and all the muscular and ligamentous structures other than the PCL removed), and the last three were PCL-only knees with the tibia protected from bending fracture. Of the eight intact knees tested, only one had PCL mid substance rupture, one had a partial articular fracture of the tibia below the plateau, and six had simple transverse fracture of the tibial metaphysis. Of the three PCL-only knees without tibial protection, one had PCL mid substance rupture, one had avulsion at the posterior intercondylar attachment point, and the last one had a simple oblique fracture of the tibial metaphysis. Of the three PCL only knees with tibia protection, two had PCL mid-substance ruptures and the third one had an avulsion at the tibial insertion site with partial articular fracture of the lateral plateau. Overall, the results of the current study were similar to those observed by Viano et al. (1978). The average displacement at failure for all PCL related injuries was 17.2±2.8 mm for the current study (n=6) and 16.2±3.9 mm for Viano et al. (1978) (n=4). This value is higher than the Injury Assessment Reference Value of 15 mm proposed by Mertz (1984) and used in various regulations. Both studies suggest that the existence of the soft tissues other than the PCL affect the injury outcome and that the intact knee would suffer predominantly tibial metaphyseal fractures possibly due to bending. Consequently, it is concluded that the current experimental setup can produce isolated PCL injuries but the data available are inadequate to characterize PCL tolerance. A Hybrid III knee equipped with a ball bearing knee slider was also tested using a pendulum setup. Apart from the initial higher stiffness, the overall response of this knee lies within the force-deflection corridors defined using the response of the cadaver knees with PCL mid-substance failure.