Long-Term Outcomes of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Using Either Synthetics With Remnant Preservation or Hamstring Autografts: A 10-Year Longitudinal Study

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Abstract

Background:

The optimal graft choice of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction remains controversial.

Purpose:

To compare the outcomes, especially the long-term cumulative failure rate, of ACL reconstruction using either synthetics with remnant preservation or hamstring autografts (4-strand semitendinosus and gracilis tendons).

Study Design:

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods:

A total of 133 patients who underwent ACL reconstruction (synthetics: n = 43; hamstring autografts: n = 90) between July 2004 and December 2007 were included. Questionnaires (Tegner activity scale, Lysholm knee scale, and International Knee Documentation Committee [IKDC] subjective form) were completed preoperatively and at 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years postoperatively. The Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) was additionally applied at 10 years’ follow-up. The physical examination was based on the 2000 IKDC form. The manual maximum side-to-side difference (KT-1000 arthrometer), single-hop test, thigh muscle atrophy, and joint degeneration (Kellgren and Lawrence classification) were evaluated. The Kaplan-Meier curve and log-rank test (Mantel-Cox, 95% CI) were used to compare graft survivorship.

Results:

Ten years postoperatively, 111 patients were available, with 38 (88.4%) patients (mean age, 27.6 ± 9.3 years; 28 men) with synthetics and 73 (81.1%) patients (mean age, 28.6 ± 8.8 years; 64 men) with hamstring autografts. Among them, 104 patients (synthetics: n = 35 [81.4%]; hamstring autografts: n = 69 [76.7%]) completed subjective evaluations, and 89 patients (synthetics: n = 30 [69.8%]; hamstring autografts: n = 59 [65.6%]) completed objective evaluations. For hamstring autografts and synthetics, the cumulative failure rates were 8.2% and 7.9%, respectively, and the log-rank test demonstrated no significant difference between the 2 Kaplan-Meier survival curves (P = .910). At 6 months postoperatively, for hamstring autografts and synthetics, the mean Lysholm score was 83.0 ± 7.8 and 88.1 ± 7.5, respectively (P < .001); the mean IKDC score was 83.8 ± 7.8 and 86.9 ± 4.5, respectively (P = .036); and the mean Tegner score was 3.7 ± 1.1 and 5.0 ± 1.5, respectively (P < .001). At 1 year postoperatively, the mean Tegner score was 5.5 ± 1.9 and 6.5 ± 2.0, respectively (P = .011). No statistically significant difference was observed on other subjective evaluation findings, physical examination findings (overall IKDC grade A: 45.8% of hamstring autografts, 50.0% of synthetics), side-to-side difference (1.5 ± 1.5 mm for synthetics, 2.4 ± 2.1 mm for hamstring autografts), single-hop test findings (grade A: 84.7% of hamstring autografts, 93.3% of synthetics), grade A/B thigh muscle atrophy (88.1% of hamstring autografts, 93.3% of synthetics), ipsilateral radiographic osteoarthritis (55.9% of hamstring autografts, 50.0% of synthetics), and graft survivorship.

Conclusion:

In this prospective cohort study, primary ACL reconstruction using either synthetics with remnant preservation or hamstring autografts showed satisfactory outcomes, especially the long-term cumulative failure rate, at 10 years postoperatively. Patient-reported outcomes suggested that symptom relief and restoration of function might occur earlier in those with synthetics.

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