A prospective randomized study of patellar versus hamstring tendon autografts for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

Am J Sports Med. 2003 Jan-Feb;31(1):12-8. doi: 10.1177/03635465030310010501.


Background: Bone-patellar tendon-bone graft has been the most commonly used graft material in anterior cruciate reconstructions, but there has been increasing use of hamstring tendon grafts. However, no existing clinical studies show adequate support for the choice of one graft over the other.

Hypothesis: Hamstring tendons are equally as good as patellar tendon in anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions.

Study design: Prospective randomized clinical trial.

Methods: Ninety-nine patients with laxity caused by a torn anterior cruciate ligament underwent arthroscopically assisted reconstruction with graft randomization according to their birth year. Grafts were either bone-patellar tendon-bone with metal interference screw fixation or double-looped hamstring tendons with metal plate fixation. There were no significant differences between the two groups preoperatively or at operation. Standard rehabilitation included immediate postoperative mobilization without a knee brace, protected weightbearing for 2 weeks, and return to full activity at 6 to 12 months.

Results: Forty-three patients in the patellar tendon group and 46 patients in the hamstring tendon group were available for clinical evaluation at a minimum of 21 months after surgery. No statistically significant differences were seen with respect to clinical and instrumented laxity testing, International Knee Documentation Committee Score ratings, isokinetic muscle torque measurements, and Kujala patellofemoral, Lysholm, and Tegner scores.

Conclusion: Equal results were seen for patellar and hamstring tendon autograft anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions at 2 years after surgery. Both techniques seem to improve patients' performance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / surgery*
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Orthopedic Fixation Devices
  • Patella
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Tendons / transplantation*
  • Thigh
  • Torque
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome