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Objective

To test the ex vivo mechanical properties of canine patella-ligament-tibia (PLT) segment and establish the relationship between donor size and PLT dimensions to the mechanical properties of PLT grafts.

Study Design

Ex vivo mechanical testing study.

Sample Population

Canine PLT segments (n = 21 dogs; 42 PLT).

Methods

Morphometric measurements of PLT segments were taken from computed tomography (CT) images and compared with results obtained using calipers. PLT were tested to failure at a rate of 100% length/s. Mechanical properties and failure mode were recorded.

Results

PLT width and thickness (P < .001 for both) measured by calipers were significantly lower than those taken from CT images. Thirty-five (83%) specimens failed by avulsion fracture from the patella, 1 failed mid-ligament, and 6 failed by tibial fracture. Dog weight and PLT length had the strongest Pearson's r value when correlated with load at failure (r = 0.73, 0.81, respectively).

Conclusion

Dog weight and PLT length were the best predictors of load at failure. PLT failure load of dogs weighing >25 kg were similar to those reported for the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) suggesting that the PLT may be a suitable allograft for CCL replacement.