No differences in prevalence of osteoarthritis or function after open versus endoscopic technique for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: 12-year follow-up report of a randomized controlled trial

Am J Sports Med. 2012 Nov;40(11):2492-8. doi: 10.1177/0363546512458766. Epub 2012 Sep 13.


Background: Although arthroscopic techniques are the most common procedures today when reconstructing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), many surgeons still prefer the open and/or 2-incision techniques.

Hypothesis: There are no differences in knee function or prevalence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) in patients who have undergone the open versus endoscopic technique for ACL reconstruction using the patellar tendon autograft.

Study design: Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: Sixty-seven patients with subacute or chronic rupture of the ACL were randomly assigned to open (OPEN) (n = 33) or endoscopic (ENDO) (n = 34) reconstruction. Function was evaluated by the Cincinnati knee score, single-legged hop tests, and isokinetic muscle strength tests. The radiographs were classified according to the Kellgren and Lawrence (KL) classification system, defining grade 2 or more as the cutoff point for knee OA. The Insall-Salvati ratio and the Blackburne-Peel ratio were used to calculate the patellar position and height.

Results: Mean age at inclusion and at the 12-year follow-up evaluation was 27.9 ± 8.6 and 39.8 ± 8.6 years, respectively. At 12-year follow-up, 53 patients (79%) were eligible for evaluation. There were no significant differences between the 2 surgical procedures with respect to the pain, function, muscle strength, hop tests, patellar height, or the prevalence of OA. The prevalence of OA was high in the tibiofemoral joint on the operated side, 79% and 80% in the OPEN and ENDO groups, respectively. For the uninvolved knee, the corresponding numbers were 36% and 21%.

Conclusion: This study suggests that the open procedure does not produce more functional problems or osteoarthritis compared with the endoscopic technique up to 12 years postoperatively.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / complications*
  • Knee Injuries / surgery
  • Knee Joint / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / epidemiology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Recovery of Function
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult