Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if the use of platelet concentrate (PC) and bone plug (BP) does accelerate the healing process in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.
Methods: One hundred and eight patients requiring ACL reconstruction were prospectively randomized into 4 groups: control (27 patients), PC (26 patients), BP (28 patients), and a combination of PC and BP (27 patients). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies were carried out at both 3 and 6 months postsurgery. Maturation of the graft was evaluated at the femoral tunnel using MRI maturation criteria defined by a low-intensity signal, absence of osteoligamentous interface, and no widening of the femoral tunnel.
Results: Three months after surgery, no differences were found among the groups regarding MRI maturation criteria. Six months postsurgery, 78% of the patients in the control group had a low-intensity signal, while in the PC group the low-intensity signal was present in 100% of the patients (P = .036). No statistical differences were observed regarding the osteoligamentous interface between the various groups. Finally, tunnel widening was seen in 11% of the patients of the BP group versus 41% of the patients in the control group (P = .047), but no statistical difference was seen with the other groups.
Conclusions: The use of PC had an enhancing effect on the graft maturation process evaluated only by MRI signal intensity, without showing any significant effect in the osteoligamentous interface or tunnel widening evolution. The use of a BP effectively prevented tunnel widening. The BP and PC combination did not show a synergic effect as compared to PC or BP individually.
Level of evidence: Level II, lesser quality randomized controlled trial.