Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with a four-strand hamstring tendon autograft. Surgical technique

Riley J Williams, Jon Hyman, Frank Petrigliano, Tamara Rozental, Thomas L Wickiewicz
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume 2005, 87 Suppl 1 (Pt 1): 51-66

BACKGROUND: In this study, we analyzed the clinical outcomes at a minimum of two years following reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament with use of a four-strand hamstring tendon autograft in patients who had presented with a symptomatic torn anterior cruciate ligament.

METHODS: One hundred and twenty-two consecutive patients who had an isolated, symptomatic anterior tibial subluxation associated with rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament were treated with reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament with a four-strand autologous semitendinosus-gracilis tendon graft. One surgeon performed all of the operations. Prior to surgery and at the follow-up examination, physical findings and functional scores were recorded and knee radiographs were analyzed. Following surgery, a six-month rehabilitation regimen was implemented.

RESULTS: Eighty-five patients (70%) were available for follow-up, which included physical examination, scoring of function, KT-1000 arthrometric testing, and radiographs, at a mean of twenty-eight months. Seventy-six (89%) of the patients had negative Lachman and pivot shift tests. The mean Lysholm score improved from 55 points preoperatively to 91 points at the time of follow-up (p < 0.01). The mean Tegner score improved from 5 to 6 points (p < 0.01). Sixty-five patients had <3 mm of knee translation on arthrometric testing, but six patients with marked laxity were not tested. Three patients (4%) had a positive pivot shift test but had no history of additional trauma to the knee. Six patients (7%) had a traumatic rupture of the graft, occurring at a mean of 10.7 months postoperatively. Assessment of the follow-up radiographs demonstrated no evidence of progressive degenerative change compared with the appearance on the preoperative radiographs. However, tunnel expansion was noted in all patients. The tibial tunnel expanded a mean of 17% (range, 0% to 32%), and the femoral tunnel expanded a mean of 29% (range, 0% to 40%).

CONCLUSIONS: Reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament with use of a four-strand hamstring tendon autograft eliminated anterior tibial subluxation in 89% of patients who were examined at a minimum of two years postoperatively. The overall rate of failure was 11%. The functional knee scores were significantly increased at the time of follow-up, but these results did not correlate with the results of knee arthrometric testing.

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