This study was conducted to validate a new in vitro method to expose the medial compartment of the knee to be used in subsequent studies aimed at examining the load bearing capabilities of medial meniscal allografts. The new method involves an osteotomy and reattachment of the medial femoral condyle. The primary hypothesis was that the new method does not alter tibio-femoral contact pressure and area. To validate this method, the baseline contact pressure of the intact medial compartment was measured using a new nondestructive procedure for inserting pressure measurement film into the intact medial hemijoint. A secondary and related hypothesis was that incising the coronary ligament, a destructive method used by previous investigators to position pressure measurement film, alters the normal tibio-femoral contact pressure. To test these hypotheses, Fuji Prescale pressure-sensitive film was used to measure both tibio-femoral contact pressure and area within the medial compartment of the (1) intact knee, (2) the knee after osteotomizing and reattaching the medial femoral condyle, and (3) the osteotomized knee with an incised coronary ligament, using seven cadaver specimens. Measurements were taken at a compressive load of approximately two times body weight with the knee in 0, 15, 30, 45 deg of flexion. No significant differences between the intact and osteotomized knee were detected. Likewise, no significant differences were observed between the osteotomized knee and the osteotomized knee with an incised coronary ligament. These results confirm the utility of the new method in exposing the medial compartment for manipulation and placement of medial meniscal allografts in future studies examining the load-bearing characteristics of meniscal allografts.

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