Original Article| Volume 29, ISSUE 3, P434-439, March 2013

Graft Fixation Is Highest With Anatomic Tunnel Positioning in Acromioclavicular Reconstruction

Published:January 16, 2013DOI:


      The purposes were to determine the bone density at specific bone tunnel locations in the clavicle and to determine ultimate load to failure of a graft fixed with an interference screw at specific areas.


      Bone mass densitometry was tested at 5-mm intervals from the lateral to the medial end of 11 clavicles (mean age, 70.0 ± 17.7 years). Tunnels were drilled in 10-mm increments from the lateral edge, and tenodesis screws were used to fix semitendinosus grafts in the tunnel. Grafts were cyclically loaded, followed by load to failure.


      The bone mineral density (BMD) of the cadaveric clavicles increased from lateral (0.304 ± 0.078 g/cm2 at 10 mm) to medial (0.760 ± 0.103 g/cm2 at 50 mm). Load to failure increased from lateral to medial, and most specimens failed by tendon pullout. The load was 125.3 ± 42.5 N at the most lateral tunnel and 349.3 ± 120.3 N at the most medial tunnel. The Pearson correlation coefficient was 0.653 between tunnel position and load to failure, 0.659 between bone density and load to failure, and 0.803 between tunnel position and bone density. These all showed strong correlation.


      BMD shows that optimal bone density is found in the anatomic insertion area of the coracoclavicular ligaments between 20 mm and 50 mm from the lateral end of the clavicle. Low BMD correlated with decreased load to failure.

      Clinical Relevance

      Failure at the lateral bone tunnel in coracoclavicular ligament reconstruction may be a result of poor bone quality. When one is drilling bone tunnels for this surgery, consideration should be given to both anatomic position and bone quality.
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