Fifteen-year outcome of endoscopic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with patellar tendon autograft for "isolated" anterior cruciate ligament tear

Catherine Hui, Lucy J Salmon, Alison Kok, Shinichi Maeno, James Linklater, Leo A Pinczewski
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2011, 39 (1): 89-98

BACKGROUND: Few studies report the long-term results of anterior cruciate ligament rupture and single-incision endoscopic reconstructive surgery. Outcomes are often clouded by concomitant meniscal, chondral, or ligament injuries.

PURPOSE: To determine the 15-year outcomes of anterior cruciate ligament ruptures treated with endoscopic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction using middle-third patellar tendon autograft.

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

METHODS: Between January 1993 and April 1994, 333 consecutive patients underwent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Patients with associated ligamentous injury requiring surgery, previous meniscectomy, or meniscal injury requiring more than one-third meniscectomy; chondral injury diagnosed at arthroscopy; and an abnormal contralateral knee were excluded. Ninety patients met the inclusion criteria. Outcomes included range of motion, Lachman and pivot-shift tests, instrumented ligament testing, single-legged hop test, Lysholm Knee Score, the International Knee Documentation Committee evaluation, and radiographic assessment.

RESULTS: Thirty percent of patients had further anterior cruciate ligament injury. Twenty-four percent of patients (n = 22) sustained contralateral anterior cruciate ligament ruptures, and 8% (n = 7) ruptured the graft (P = .009). Graft rupture was associated with a graft inclination angle <17° (P = .02). Contralateral anterior cruciate ligament rupture was associated with age <18 years at time of primary injury (P = .001). All patients had normal or nearly normal (International Knee Documentation Committee evaluation) Lachman and instrumented testing, and 91% had a negative pivot-shift result. Seventy percent of patients had kneeling pain. Median subjective International Knee Documentation Committee evaluation was 91 of 100. Fifty-one percent of patients had radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis (41% grade B; 10% grade C).

CONCLUSION: Good results are maintained at 15 years after surgery with respect to ligamentous stability, subjective outcomes, and range of motion. Kneeling pain remains a significant problem. Concern remains regarding the incidence of further anterior cruciate ligament injury and the increasing number of patients with radiographic and clinical signs of osteoarthritis despite surgical stabilization.

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