Background: Randomized controlled trials after anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions with long-term follow-up including assessment of health-related quality of life are rare.
Purpose: To compare clinical outcome and health-related quality of life 8 years after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction using 2 types of graft.
Study design: Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.
Methods: Long-term follow-up of 164 patients with anterior cruciate ligament injury randomized to arthroscopic reconstruction with a quadrupled semitendinosus graft or a bone-patellar tendon-bone graft was undertaken. After a mean 8 years, 153 patients were available for follow-up, including instrumented laxity, 1-legged hop test, a knee-walking test, and assessment with International Knee Documentation Committee, Lysholm, Tegner, and patellofemoral pain score. Health-related quality of life was assessed with Knee Osteoarthritis Outcome Score and Short Form-36.
Results: Patients in both graft groups retained the same stability, knee function, and health-related quality of life. The patellofemoral pain score was similar for both groups; the bone-patellar tendon-bone group had more donor site morbidity from kneeling and knee walking. In the bone-patellar tendon-bone group, 19 patients had no kneeling problems, 23 slight problems, 31 moderate problems, and 5 unable to kneel. Corresponding figures for the semitendinosus group were 25, 32, 16, and 2 (P < .001). Patients with early reconstructions (<5 months) had a lower risk for meniscal injuries (37%) than did later reconstructed (62%, P = .008). Health-related quality of life regarding physical functioning in Short Form-36 was better for the early-reconstructed patients than for the later reconstructed (92 vs 85; P = .014). Patients without medial meniscal surgery had higher Knee Osteoarthritis Outcome Scores for all subscales than did patients with medial meniscal surgery, with most significant difference for sport and recreation (63 vs 75, P = .008).
Conclusion: In the long term, the semitendinosus graft provided similar stability, knee function, and health-related quality of life but with less kneeling morbidity than did the bone-patellar tendon-bone graft.