Purpose: The hypothesis of our study was that a quadrupled bone-semitendinosus (STB) graft could provide a clinically stable construct, allow recovery of normal limb strength, give high patient satisfaction with early return to active sports, and involve low donor-site morbidity.
Type of study: Outcomes study.
Methods: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction with an STB graft was performed on 80 athletes with isolated ACL injury from January 1996 to December 1999. Femoral fixation was obtained with EndoButton (Smith & Nephew, Andover, MA) and tibial fixation with Fastlok (Neoligaments, Leeds, England). At a mean follow-up time of 36 months (range, 24-52 months), patients were evaluated using standard knee scores (Noyes, Lysholm, Tegner, and International Knee Documentation Committee [IKDC] rating) and functional strength tests; postoperative pain rating; knee radiographs performed after surgery and at final follow-up; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 3 to 6 months; isokinetic flexion-extension and internal-external rotation tests at 3, 6, and 12 months; and computed laxity analysis at final evaluation.
Results: At final evaluation, subjective knee rating was 87%, kneeling test was positive in 7%, and Werner score was 44 of 50 (range, 30-48). Lachman test was negative in 90% at final evaluation. Sensory changes were present in 30% at 3 months, and 10% had definite hyposthesia. Computed laxity analysis revealed 90% with less than 3 mm side-to-side difference. Isokinetic testing showed normal hamstring and quadriceps peak torques at 12 months. The one-leg hop test and vertical jump were normal by 6 months. At final evaluation, average Noyes score was 88 (range, 65-100); Lysholm score, 91 (range, 70-100); postoperative Tegner rating, 6.5 (range, 5-9); and preinjury Tegner rating, 7.5 (range, 7-10). IKDC score showed 72 knees normal or nearly normal, 7 abnormal, and 1 severely abnormal. Sixty-five percent of patients returned to the same preinjury sports level.
Conclusions: The quadrupled bone-semitendinosus graft is a viable graft for ACL reconstruction and should be considered, especially for patients with extensor mechanism problems.