Arthroscopic ACL reconstruction has a satisfactory functional outcome of up to 90%, but there are few long-term prospective studies. This prospective study presents the outcomes of ACL reconstruction in terms of laxity, function and degenerative change, after a mean follow-up of 7 years. Function was assessed using the Lysholm and Tegner Activity Scores, laxity using the Stryker Knee Laxity Tester, employing maximum manual effort, and degenerative change was assessed as joint line narrowing on standardised radiographs. At latest follow-up, the mean Lysholm score improved from 70 to 87 and the Tegner from 4 to 7 (P<0.001). AP translation also improved (P<0.001). The incidence of early degenerative change was 50% and although this appeared to be associated with a previous meniscectomy, the correlation was not significant (P=0.06). In conclusion, the improved functional scores and laxity are sustained beyond 7 years but the 50% incidence of early degenerative change may be a cause for concern.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science B.V.