Implant-free press-fit fixation for bone-patellar tendon-bone ACL reconstruction: 10-year results

Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2010 Aug;130(8):985-92. doi: 10.1007/s00402-010-1050-2. Epub 2010 Jan 22.


Objective: The aim of this study is to determine the outcome of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction without foreign material with patellar tendon bone graft in the fixation with bone dowels near the native insertion.

Materials and methods: Between 1998 and 1999, 189 patients were operated with ACL reconstruction with BTB patellar tendon graft. In a prospective study, 148 (78%) (91M, 57F) patients could be seen for a mean follow-up of 10.3 years. All had foreign material-free press-fit and a bottom-to-top (BTT) fixation in 120 degrees knee flexion. All patients were evaluated with detailed history, clinical examinations, radiographic examination with weight bearing which could be compared to the time of surgery in 64 (43%) patients. Laxity testing was performed in Lachman position with the Rolimeter and pivot shift. All patients were graded according to the IKDC and Tegner activity score.

Results: 87% of the patients achieved an IKDC score of A/B. The subjective IKDC score was A/B in 94.6% of the subjects. The average side-to-side difference was 1.42 +/- 0.88 mm for the Lachman test, 97% of the patients were rated between 0 and 2 mm. The pivot-shift test was negative in 90% and was observed with a glide in 7% of the patients. Radiological joint space narrowing was found in the medial compartment in 8 (12.4%) cases, and laterally in 9 (14.1%) cases. All these patients had partial or total meniscus resections. The patello-femoral joint space was reduced in 21 (23%) cases. The Tegner activity score changed from 6.9 pre-injury to 5.0 at the 10-year follow-up.

Conclusion: The implant-free fixation of the graft with bone dowels and BTT implantation has good and excellent results after 10 years in more than 80% of the patients. Loss of the meniscus is a main factor contributing to osteoarthritis. Advantages of patellar tendon bone press-fit fixation include anatomical positioning and fast bone-to-bone healing, ease for revision surgery and cost effectiveness.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Bone-Patellar Tendon-Bone Grafting / instrumentation
  • Bone-Patellar Tendon-Bone Grafting / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult