Purpose: To evaluate the stability and arthrosis of the knee 10 to 15 years after arthroscopic-assisted anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction with patellar tendon graft.
Methods: From July 1986 to March 1991, 82 patients underwent arthroscopic-assisted ACL reconstruction with patellar tendon graft. Of these, 62 returned for follow-up evaluation between November 2000 and April 2001. Four different physicians, blinded to each other's examination findings, evaluated the radiologic as well as surgical results according to the International Knee Documentation Committee criteria and the Lysholm knee scoring scale.
Results: There were 47 male and 15 female patients. The mean period between injury and surgery was 16 months (range, 2 weeks to 8 years). Results of radiographs were compared with the finding of meniscal lesions during surgery and with International Knee Documentation Committee test results. A statistically significant association (P < .0001) was found between medial or lateral arthrosis of the knee and meniscal injury. In all patients the presence of tears in both menisci was associated with osteoarthrosis in both compartments (medial and lateral).
Conclusions: In patients who underwent arthroscopic-assisted ACL reconstruction with patellar tendon graft who also had medial or lateral meniscectomy (or both), arthrosis of the respective compartments developed by 10 to 15 years after reconstruction. Meniscectomy was also associated with poorer results on objective tests of knee function, even with a stable knee joint.
Level of evidence: Level IV, therapeutic case series.