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Although the scar tissue, which heals the donor site defect, has different elasticity from the neighbouring patellar tissue, it remains unclear if this scar tissue can lead to the changes of the electromechanical delay (EMD) of the knee extensor muscles. If such changes do exist, they can possibly affect both the utilization of the stored energy in the series elastic component, as well as the optimal performance of the knee joint movement. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of harvesting the patellar tendon during anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and the associated patellar tendon scar tissue development on the EMD of the rectus femoris (RF) and vastus medialis (VM) muscles. Seventeen patients who underwent an ACL reconstruction using the medial third of the patellar tendon were divided in two groups based upon their postoperative time interval. Maximal voluntary contraction from the knee extensors, surface EMG activity, and ultrasonographic measurements of the patellar tendon cross-section area were obtained from both knees. Our results revealed that no significant changes for the maximal voluntary contraction of the knee extensors and for the EMD of the RF and the VM muscles due to patellar scar tissue development after harvesting the tendon for ACL reconstruction. The EMD, as a component of the stretch reflex, is important for the utilization of the stored energy in the series elastic component and thus, optimal sports performance. However, from our results, it can be implied that the ACL reconstruction using a patellar tendon graft would not impair sports performance as far as EMD is concerned.


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Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy





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