-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
THURSDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Orthopedic surgeons say
they've confirmed the existence of a new ligament in the human
They hope their research will shed light on why people with torn
anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) continue to experience their
knee "giving out" despite surgery and rehab to repair the
After examining ACL tears, the two Belgian surgeons were able to
provide the first full description of a less well-understood
ligament in the knee -- the anterolateral ligament (ALL) -- that
may also be affected.
They say their findings could signal a breakthrough in
treatments for ACL injuries, which are all too common among
athletes in sports like soccer, basketball, skiing and
Although a French surgeon suggested back in 1879 that an
additional ligament was located on the front of the human knee, Dr.
Steven Claes and Dr. Johan Bellemans from University Hospitals
Leuven are the first to actually provide a full anatomical
description of the ALL, according to a university news release.
After dissecting 41 cadavers, the surgeons found the ALL in all
but one of the knees examined. Follow-up research suggests that
when the knees of people with ACL tears collapse, it's due to an
injury to the ALL.
The findings, which were published in the October issue of the
Journal of Anatomy, are evidence that scientists still don't
know absolutely everything there is to know about the human body,
the Anatomical Society remarked in the news release.
The surgeons added that they are now working on new surgical
techniques to repair ALL injuries.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about
ACL knee injuries.
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