Causes for failure of ACL reconstruction and influence of meniscectomies after revision

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2011 Feb;19(2):196-201. doi: 10.1007/s00167-010-1201-6. Epub 2010 Jul 20.


The purpose of this multicenter retrospective study was to analyze the causes for failure of ACL reconstruction and the influence of meniscectomies after revision. This study was conducted over a 12-year period, from 1994 to 2005 with ten French orthopaedic centers participating. Assessment included the objective International Knee Documenting Committee (IKDC) 2000 scoring system evaluation. Two hundred and ninety-three patients were available for statistics. Untreated laxity, femoral and tibial tunnel malposition, impingement, failure of fixation were assessed, new traumatism and infection were recorded. Meniscus surgery was evaluated before, during or after primary ACL reconstruction, and then during or after revision ACL surgery. The main cause for failure of ACL reconstruction was femoral tunnel malposition in 36% of the cases. Forty-four percent of the patients with an anterior femoral tunnel as a cause for failure of the primary surgery were IKDC A after revision versus 24% if the cause of failure was not the femoral tunnel (P = 0.05). A 70% meniscectomy rate was found in revision ACL reconstruction. Comparison between patients with a total meniscectomy (n = 56) and patients with preserved menisci (n = 65) revealed a better functional result and knee stability in the non-meniscectomized group (P = 0.04). This study shows that the anterior femoral tunnel malposition is the main cause for failure in ACL reconstruction. This reason for failure should be considered as a predictive factor of good result of revision ACL reconstruction. Total meniscectomy jeopardizes functional result and knee stability at follow-up.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Failure