Background: The factors that lead to patients failing multiple anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions are not well understood.
Hypothesis: Multiple-revision ACL reconstruction will have different characteristics than first-time revision in terms of previous and current graft selection, mode of failure, chondral/meniscal injuries, and surgical charactieristics.
Study design: Case-control study; Level of evidence, 3.
Methods: A prospective multicenter ACL revision database was utilized for the time period from March 2006 to June 2011. Patients were divided into those who underwent a single-revision ACL reconstruction and those who underwent multiple-revision ACL reconstructions. The primary outcome variable was Marx activity level. Primary data analyses between the groups included a comparison of graft type, perceived mechanism of failure, associated injury (meniscus, ligament, and cartilage), reconstruction type, and tunnel position. Data were compared by analysis of variance with a post hoc Tukey test.
Results: A total of 1200 patients (58% men; median age, 26 years) were enrolled, with 1049 (87%) patients having a primary revision and 151 (13%) patients having a second or subsequent revision. Marx activity levels were significantly higher (9.77) in the primary-revision group than in those patients with multiple revisions (6.74). The most common cause of reruptures was a traumatic, noncontact ACL graft injury in 55% of primary-revision patients; 25% of patients had a nontraumatic, gradual-onset recurrent injury, and 11% had a traumatic, contact injury. In the multiple-revision group, a nontraumatic, gradual-onset injury was the most common cause of recurrence (47%), followed by traumatic noncontact (35%) and nontraumatic sudden onset (11%) (P < .01 between groups). Chondral injuries in the medial compartment were significantly more common in the multiple-revision group than in the single-revision group, as were chondral injuries in the patellofemoral compartment.
Conclusion: Patients with multiple-revision ACL reconstructions had lower activity levels, were more likely to have chondral injuries in the medial and patellofemoral compartments, and had a high rate of a nontraumatic, recurrent injury of their graft.
Keywords: ACL; ACL revision; allograft; autograft.