Primary anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction using fresh-frozen, nonirradiated patellar tendon allograft: minimum 2-year follow-up

Bernard R Bach, Kirk J Aadalen, Michael G Dennis, Dominic S Carreira, John Bojchuk, Jennifer K Hayden, Charles A Bush-Joseph
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2005, 33 (2): 284-92

BACKGROUND: There are conflicting reports of allograft performance, immune response, tissue incorporation, and rerupture rates when used for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the clinical outcome of a fresh-frozen, nonirradiated, patellar tendon allograft for primary anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

METHODS: Patients who underwent endoscopic primary anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with allograft tissue a minimum of 2 years ago were evaluated with physical examinations, the KT-1000 arthrometer, functional testing, radiographic evaluation, subjective assessment, and outcomes tools.

RESULTS: Fifty-nine patients (60 knees) were evaluated at an average of 51 months after surgery. Ninety-four percent of patients were mostly or completely satisfied. A negative pivot shift test result was noted in 90% of subjects. The KT-1000 arthrometer side-to-side differences were < or =3 mm in 95% of patients, and no patient exceeded 5 mm. The mean International Knee Documentation Committee score was 78 (SD = 19), and the mean Lysholm score was 82 (SD = 17). There were no clinical symptoms consistent with graft rejection or infection. Radiographic evaluation demonstrated infrequent significant tunnel widening.

CONCLUSIONS: Use of a fresh-frozen, nonirradiated allograft for primary reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament is a successful procedure both subjectively and functionally for restoring stability in patients selected for allograft reconstruction. In the patients selected for this surgical procedure, clinical, arthrometric stability testing, and subjective satisfaction were comparable to our previously published cohort studies using patellar tendon autograft at similar postoperative follow-up.

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