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Fun Science Friday – New Human Body Part Discovered

Happy Thanksgiving Holiday. After hopefully stuffing your bellies with delicious food yesterday, take a moment to quench your curiosity with this addition of FSF!

If you thought that knowledge of the human anatomy was exhaustive, you would be wrong. Orthopedic surgeons, Steven Claes and Johan Bellemans, at the University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium, recently  discovered a previously undescribed ligament in the human knee now known as the anterolateral ligament (ALL). Knowing that I have one more extra anatomical structure in my body than was previously known for some reason makes me feel all warm and cozy inside… or that is the post holiday ‘spirit’ still coursing through my veins. ;)

Claes and Bellemans described the structure and hypothesized about the function of this  ligament in the Journal of Anatomy, but they were not the first to theorize about the existence of an extra ligament in the knee. In 1879 a french surgeon postulated about the existence of an additional ligament in the human knee, though the structure evaded classification for many years.

An image of a right knee following a complete dissection illustrates the  anterolateral ligament. Photo Credit: University of Leuven

An image of a right knee following a complete dissection illustrates the anterolateral ligament.
Photo Credit: University of Leuven

Now that the ALL has been identified and described, Claes and Bellemans suspect that the ALL influences the pivot shift of the knee given its location, and damage to this ligament may be the reason knees give out even after successful ACL surgery.  As someone who has a chronic knee issues from years of playing soccer, yet modern medicine has failed to provide me with a definitive answer as to why I experience knee pain despite my seemingly healthy knee. I cannot help but wonder if I have ALL issues… or more likely, at the moment I am just being a hypochondriac. :p

Whatever the function of the ALL, this finding reminds us that despite our advanced technology, the basic anatomy of the human body is not yet complete!

Happy Fun Science Friday yall!

 

Follow the below link to the Journal of Anatomy to read the scientific study that describes this new ligament:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joa.12087/abstract