Background: Reporting of long-term outcome of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction with the patellar tendon (bone-patellar tendon-bone [BTB]) autograft is limited. There are concerns that degenerative joint disease is common in the long term, which may be associated with the procedure itself.
Hypotheses: (1) ACL reconstruction with BTB provides good long-term outcome. (2) There are additional factors to surgical reconstruction that can be associated with the development of degenerative disease.
Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.
Methods: Of 161 patients, 114 were eligible. Patient-centered outcome was by Lysholm and subjective International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) score; objective outcome measures were clinical examination and IKDC radiological grade.
Results: Mean average follow-up was 13 years. The IKDC radiological grades in the worst compartment were A = 15%, B = 51%, C = 19%, and D = 14% (n = 83). There was a significant difference between the injured versus contralateral uninjured knee (n = 42, P = .003). In a subgroup with no meniscal or chondral injury the IKDC grades were A = 38%, B = 55%, C = 7%, and D = 0% (n = 29). The mean subjective scores were 89 ± 11 (Lysholm) and 83 ± 15 (IKDC) (n = 114). Poor IKDC subjective outcome was associated with chondral injury (P = .001), previous surgery (P = .022), return to sport (P = .013), and poor radiological grade in the ipsilateral medial compartment (P = .004). A poor IKDC radiological grade was associated with chondral injury (P = .002), meniscal injury (P = .010) and meniscectomy (P = .012), an IKDC subjective score of <85 (P = .01), and poor radiological grade in the contralateral medial compartment (P = .041).
Conclusion: At 13 years, BTB ACL reconstruction provides a good outcome. Chondral and meniscal damage at surgery were associated with a poor radiological outcome, indicating that injuries sustained during ACL rupture may be the main predictors of degenerative bone disease.