The occurrence of osteoarthritis at a minimum of ten years after reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament

J Orthop Surg Res. 2008 Jun 10;3:24. doi: 10.1186/1749-799X-3-24.


Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the incidence of radiographic osteoarthritis in the operated knee in comparison with the contralateral knee ten years after a bone-tendon bone patellar autograft ACL-reconstruction and to evaluate to which level patients regain activity ten years after reconstruction.

Methods: Fifty-three patients with ACL instability were operated arthroscopically using the central third of the patellar tendon as a bone-tendon-bone autograft. At a minimum of 10 year follow up 28/44 patients matched the inclusion criteria and could be reached for follow-up. Evaluation included a patient satisfaction evaluation using a Visual Analog Scale, physical examination (International Knee Documentation Committee score, Tegner score, Lysholm score, KT-1000 stabilometry) and a radiological evaluation (Kellgren and Fairbanks classification).

Results: The patients' satisfaction, at a mean of 10,3 year follow-up, measured with a VAS score (0-10) was high with a mean of 8.5 (range 4 to 10). The KT 1000 arthrometer laxity measurements revealed in 55% of the patients an A rating (1-2 mm), in 29% a B rating (3-5 mm) and in 16% a C rating (6-10 mm). According to the Tegner score 54% of the patients were able to perform at the same activity level as pre-operatively. The mean pre-operative Tegner score was 6.8 and the mean post-operative Tegner score was 6.0 at final follow up. The Lysholm score showed satisfactory results with a mean of 91 points (range 56 to 100). According to the Kellgren and Fairbank classifications, there is a significant difference (p < 0.05) in development of OA between the ACL injured and subsequently operated knee in comparison to the contralateral knee.

Conclusion: The patellar BTB ACL reconstruction does not prevent the occurrence of radiological OA after 10 years but does help the patient to regain the pre-operative level of activity.