Purpose: To assess the effect of hyaluronic acid instillation after arthroscopic anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction for improving pain, range of movement, and function of the knee.
Methods: 28 men and 4 women underwent arthroscopic ACL reconstruction for isolated ACL rupture (partial or complete) and instability after recreational sports injury 2 to 120 months earlier. They were randomised to undergo arthroscopic ACL reconstruction followed by intra-articular viscoseal instillation (13 men and 3 women) or arthroscopic ACL reconstruction alone (15 men and 1 woman). The knee injury osteoarthritis outcome score (for pain, symptoms, activities of daily living, sport and recreation function, and quality of life), range of movement, knee circumference, and analgesic use were assessed on days -1, 1, and 2, and weeks 2, 6 and 12.
Results: Patient demographics were similar at baseline. At postoperative days 1 and 2, all subscales of the knee injury osteoarthritis outcome score (except for quality of life) were significantly higher in the viscoseal group. At weeks 2, 6, and 12, improvement in both groups equalised. Knee swelling (change in knee circumference) was significantly less in the viscoseal group at days 1 and 2 (p=0.009 and p=0.038, respectively, Mann-Whitney U test). Only one patient in the viscoseal group had a limited range of movement. No patient developed any adverse reaction.
Conclusion: Intra-articular viscoseal instillation improved pain control and swelling 2 days after arthroscopic ACL reconstruction.