Increased incidence of osteoarthritis of knee joint after ACL reconstruction with bone-patellar tendon-bone autografts than hamstring autografts: a meta-analysis of 1,443 patients at a minimum of 5 years

Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 2015 Jan;25(1):149-59. doi: 10.1007/s00590-014-1459-3. Epub 2014 Apr 21.


Purpose: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of BPTB autografts versus HT autografts at a minimum of 5 years after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.

Methods: A systematical search of literature was performed in PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane library to identify published randomized controlled trials (RCT) or prospective cohort studies (PCS) relevant to ACL reconstruction comparing BPTB and HT autografts. The results of the eligible studies were analysed in terms of objective International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) scores, return to preinjury activity level, KT-1000, Lachman test, pivot shift test, anterior knee pain, kneeling pain, extension loss, and flexion loss, graft failure and radiographic outcomes. Study quality was assessed by using the Coleman methodology score for included studies. Two reviewers independently assessed each study for quality and extracted data. Subgroup analysis of the primary outcomes was conducted according to the type of study design (RCT or PCS).

Results: Twelve RCTs, two PCS including 1,443 patients comparing hamstring and patellar tendon autografts were identified. The results of the meta-analysis showed that there were no significant differences between BPTB and HT in terms of objective IKDC score (P = 0.83), return to preinjury activity (P = 0.69), KT-1000 (P = 0.12), Lachman test (P = 0.76), pivot shift test (P = 0.11), extension deficit (P = 0.09), flexion deficit (P = 0.71) and graft failure (P = 0.22). However, outcomes in favour of HT autografts were found in terms of anterior knee pain (P = 0.0001) and kneeling pain (P = 0.001). Radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis (OA) showed that incidence of OA was significantly higher in BPTB groups compared with HT groups based on IKDC system. These findings were still robust during the sensitivity analysis. Results from subgroup analysis of the primary outcomes were consistent with the overall analysis.

Conclusion: Meta-analysis of prospective trials did not detect any significant differences in clinical results, as evidenced by the objective IKDC score, return to preinjury activity level, KT-1000, Lachman test, pivot shift test, extension loss, flexion loss and graft failure. However, the meta-analysis revealed that ACL reconstruction with BPTB autografts resulted in increased anterior knee pain and kneeling pain compared with hamstring autografts. Increased incidence of OA was found after ACL reconstruction at a minimum of 5 years in BPTB group compared with HT autografts. This result should be cautiously interpreted. More high-quality RCT with strictly specified inclusion criteria are highly required before drawing a reliable conclusion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Arthralgia / etiology
  • Bone-Patellar Tendon-Bone Grafting* / adverse effects
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / epidemiology*
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Radiography
  • Recovery of Function
  • Tendons / transplantation*
  • Transplantation, Autologous / adverse effects