[Reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament: comparison of patellar bone-tendon-bone and hamstring tendon graft methods. Part 1. Evaluation of patients treated by the patellar bone-tendon-bone graft technique]

P Sadovský, D Musil, L Filip, Z Vodicka, J Stehlík
Acta Chirurgiae Orthopaedicae et Traumatologiae Cechoslovaca 2005, 72 (4): 235-8

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: Reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) by means of a patellar bone-tendon-bone (B-T-B) graft is currently one of the most frequent arthroscopic procedures. Progress in alternative techniques, particularly the use of hamstring tendon grafts and different methods for graft anchorage, was the reason for evaluation of our group of patients. The results were assessed at 18 months of follow-up.

MATERIAL: We evaluated 137 surgically treated knees in 136 patients, 20 female and 117 male, on the basis of the Lysholm score system completed with a clinical examination of knee joint stability by Lachman's test and the pivot shift test and the ability of assuming a squatting position. We completed the evaluation with the patient's report on their satisfaction with the outcome and willingness to undergo the surgery again in the case of the other knee instability.

METHODS: We carried out surgery under general anesthesia with the extremity in flexion and application of a tourniquet. Arthroscopy is performed from the anterolateral portal and graft is harvested, though a longitudinal incision, from the middle third of the patellar ligament and with the bony blocks from the patella and tibial tubercle. The graft width is 9 to 10 mm. Tibial or femoral tunnels are drilled by means of a tibial of femoral reamer and the inserted graft is fixed with metal interference screws. Cefazolinum with low-molecular heparin is administered during surgery. Rehabilitation of the extremity on a continuous passive motion (CPM) device begins on the first day. Full weight-bearing is allowed from the sixth week.

RESULTS: The average Lysholm score of the group was 86.9. Excellent, good and satisfactory outcomes were achieved in 46.38%, 23.91% and 14.49% of the knees, respectively; 14.49% showed poor outcomes. Satisfaction with the outcome of surgery was reported by 90.5% of the patients, 75.18% complained of problems with knee-bend and pain at the donor site and scar. DISCUSSION The results of our evaluation are similar to those reported in the relevant literature. There are no differences in Lysholm scores from literature data or from the results recorded in a group of patients operated on with the use of the Rigidfix system and hamstring tendon grafts, in whom the average score was 84.3. The patients treated by the B-T-B technique, however, experience more problems at the graft harvest site, with subsequent femoropatellar complaints.

CONCLUSIONS: ACL reconstruction with a patellar B-T-B graft is a surgical technique which resolves the patient's existing complaints due to knee instability, but may also have a preventive effect. This technique is suitable for sportsmen and sportswomen. Because of frequent postoperative complaints of pain at the donor site, it is not indicated for persons with femoropatellar problems, elderly persons and those who have kneeling jobs.

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