Does autograft choice determine intermediate-term outcome of ACL reconstruction?

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2011 Mar;19(3):462-72. doi: 10.1007/s00167-010-1277-z. Epub 2010 Oct 15.


Purpose: Many clinical studies and systematic reviews have compared the short-term (2 years) outcomes of ACL reconstruction with hamstring and patellar tendon autograft. Few differences have been observed, with the exception of increased kneeling pain with patellar tendon grafts. The goal of this systematic review is to determine whether there are differences in clinical, patient-reported, or radiographic outcomes based on graft choice at a minimum of 5 years after ACL reconstruction.

Methods: A systematic review was performed to identify all prospective outcome studies comparing patellar tendon and hamstring autograft ACL reconstruction with minimum follow-up of at least 5 years. Seven studies were identified and meta-analysis of select data determined to be sufficiently homogenous was performed (failure and laxity).

Results: Five randomized controlled trials and two prospective cohorts comparing hamstring and patellar tendon autografts were identified. Clinical assessment [failure rate, International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) class, Lachman, pivot shift, and KT 1000 testing] showed no difference between grafts. Patient-reported outcomes (Lysholm, Cincinnati, and IKDC) showed no difference. Both anterior knee pain (3/3 studies) and kneeling pain (4/4 studies) were more frequent in the patellar tendon group. However, the patient-reported outcomes in these studies were not different. Radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis was inconsistent between autograft choices.

Conclusion: This level II systematic review demonstrates no difference in major clinical results between graft types with the exception of increased anterior knee and kneeling pain. There exists a potential for increased incidence of osteoarthritis in the patellar tendon group but increased sample size is required. These longer-term outcomes are similar to results of prior systematic reviews with two-year follow-up.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Arthroscopy / adverse effects
  • Arthroscopy / methods
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / prevention & control
  • Knee Injuries / surgery
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patellar Ligament / transplantation*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / adverse effects
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tendon Transfer / methods
  • Tendons / transplantation*
  • Transplantation, Autologous