Reconstruction of anterior cruciate ligament deficient knees in soccer players with an iliotibial band autograft. A prospective study of 132 reconstructed knees followed for 4 (2-7) years

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2001 Feb;11(1):16-22. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0838.2001.011001016.x.


One hundred and thirty-two consecutive soccer players (117 males and 15 females, median age 23, range 16-39 years) underwent primary reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) with an iliotibial band (ITB) autograft. All patients were followed prospectively for a minimum of 2 years. One hundred and eighteen patients (89%) attended an independent observer follow-up after a median of 47 (24-92) months. The time before participating in soccer was a median of 7 (5-24) months. At a median of 4 years, 80 (68%) were still active soccer players, while 38 had changed activity to a lower level. Twenty-five gave up soccer playing for reasons unrelated to the knee, and 13 (11%) gave up due to problems from the reconstructed knee. The Lysholm score improved from a median of 82 (range 42-99, mean [SD] 80.5 [+/-11.9]) points prior to the operation to a median of 99 (range 57-100, mean [SD] 94.6 [+/-8.5]) at follow-up. The Tegner score improved from a median of 3.5 (0-7) preoperatively to 9 (1-10). Four patients (3%) sustained a rupture of the graft: three ruptures occurred among the 15 females (20%), and one was seen among the 117 males (0.8%) (P=0.01). Eight per cent had predominantly minor cosmetic complaints from the donor-site hernia, while 51% had temporary discomfort from the staples used for graft fixation. Using the ITB autograft for ACL reconstruction, we found excellent and good results in soccer players with ACL deficiency and high demands for optimal knee function. The failure rate in general was comparable with other methods, and the majority was still active in soccer sports at a median of 4 years after surgery. An unacceptably high rerupture rate was registered in female players.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / pathology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability
  • Knee Injuries / pathology
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Ligaments, Articular / transplantation
  • Male
  • Pain
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rupture
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Sutures
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome