Over the past 5 decades, the search for more objectivity in evaluating ACL and PCL instability of the knee joint has driven sports medicine surgeons worldwide. The KT1000 was one of the first knee arthrometers worldwide. It was developed by the US Company Medmetric in the 1980s inspired by a late friend of mine, Dale Daniel from San Diego and it has remained valid until today. Dale had as well described the «active, quadriceps induced anterior drawer test» which in fact was an active Lachman Test. The purpose of his device is to objectively evaluate the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) by quantifying the antero-posterior displacement of the knee joint. Several ligament testing devices have since then been developed and these devices had a wide range of cost and complexity but the KT1000 had received the most attention and was quickly referenced as the number one device for evaluating knee laxity.
After a certain time and experience with the KT1000 and a visit of Dr. Dale Daniel at our Department in Bern for studying PCL repairs, we set out to develop a portable device that would be integrated in a normal Lachman examination. Such a device should be of lower cost yet guarantee equally valid results of measurements.
The Rolimeter was developed around the year 1990 and brought on the market as a product with CE Marking by Aircast Europe (Director Erich Albrecht, Rosenheim Germany) and with Glen W. Johnson (Director of Aircast Company in Summit, US). The Rolimeter allows the examiner to perform a classic Lachman test and measuring the tibial translation with maximum manual force without the need of changing to a positioning and measuring technique different from what the examiner has learned and is used to in his daily practice. Meanwhile, it has stood the test of time and has remained the most compact and economic of all. It is now the most utilized arthrometer in Europe, the KT1000 not being available on the market anymore since many years.
The results of many studies suggest that the Rolimeter is a reliable device in objectively evaluating knee joint laxity. A unique characteristic of the Rolimeter is that it can be sterilized and used intraoperatively. It requires only little extra effort and is liked by its users for its easiness of handling thanks to a simple mechanism and its lightweight, for its readiness, for its durability and absence of maintenance, and for its low cost. (Lit Ref.)