ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – A new ligament in the human knee that plays an important role in patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears has  been recently discovered by two knee surgeons.

Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Claes and Dr. Johan Bellemans have been conducting research into serious ACL injuries for the last four years in an effort to find out why some patients with ACL-repaired knees have episodes where the knew ‘gives way’ during activity.

The two doctors, who perform surgery at University Hospitals Leuven, began  with an 1879 article by a French surgeon.  The article discussed the postulation that an additional ligament existed on the anterior of the human knee.

That article helped the two Belgian doctors tremendously and they are now the first to identify the previously unknown ligament.  They used a broad cadaver study using macroscopic dissection techniques to fully uncover this new discovery.

The ligament has been named the anterolateral ligament (ALL) and is present in 97 percent of all human knees.

An injury in the ALL ligament is why the knee gives way in patients with an ACL tear subsequent research shows.  Dr. Claes and Dr. Bellemans are currently working on a surgical technique to fix ALL injuries.

Pivot-heavy sports like football, basketball, and soccer are where ACL tears happen often.

Their findings can be found in the Journal of Anatomy.


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