A Prospective Randomized Study of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Comparison of Patellar Tendon and Quadruple-Strand Semitendinosus/Gracilis Tendons Fixed With Bioabsorbable Interference Screws

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Abstract

Background

Debate exists regarding the optimal graft for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Few studies have compared the differences in outcome after reconstruction using similar fixation methods.

Hypothesis

Similar outcomes will be seen after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with bone-patellar tendon-bone or quadruple-strand semitendinosus/gracilis tendons fixed with bioabsorbable interference screws.

Study Design

Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.

Methods

Ninety-nine patients were prospectively randomized to bone-patellar tendon-bone (46 patients) or quadruple-strand semitendinosus/gracilis (53 patients) reconstruction groups. The bone-patellar tendon-bone group had slightly lower preinjury Tegner scores (6.7 vs 7.1, P = .03); otherwise, the groups were similar. All surgeries were performed by a single surgeon using an endoscopic technique with bioabsorbable interference screw fixation. Patients were evaluated at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months.

Results

Forty-six bone-patellar tendon-bone and 50 quadruple-strand semitendinosus/gracilis patients were available at 24 months (97%). No differences in International Knee Documentation Committee grade, Lysholm score, Tegner activity level, range of motion, single-legged hop test, KT-1000 arthrometer manual maximum difference, Short Form-36, or patient knee rating were found. The bone-patellar tendon-bone group had better flexion strength in the operated leg than in the nonoperated leg (102% vs 90%, P = .0001), fewer patients complaining of difficulty jumping (3% vs 17%, P = .03), and a greater number of patients returning to preinjury Tegner level (51 % vs 26%, P = .01). The quadruple-strand semitendinosus/gracilis group had better extension strength in the operated leg than in the nonoperated leg (92% vs 85%, P = .04), fewer patients with sensory deficits (14% vs 83%, P = .0001), and fewer patients with difficulty kneeling (6% vs 20%, P = .04). Both groups showed significant improvement in KT-1000 arthrometer manual maximum difference, Lysholm score, Tegner activity level, International Knee Documentation Committee grade, and patient knee rating score.

Conclusions

Good outcomes were seen in both the bone-patellar tendon-bone and quadruple-strand semitendinosus/gracilis groups. Subtle differences were noted between the groups, which may help guide optimal graft choice.

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