Purpose: To compare femoral and tibial tunnel widening (TW) in patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction using an interference screw (IS), or an EndoButton-Continuous Loop(®) on the femoral side, and an IS/staple on the tibial side.
Methods: Between 2006 and 2009, at a single institution, 72 patients who underwent arthroscopic ACL reconstruction with quadrupled hamstring tendon grafting were retrospectively reviewed. Fixation was performed, and with the EndoButton-Continuous Loop(®) device (Group Ι) in 48 patients (mean age 29.1 ± 7.3 years) with a bioabsorbable IS (Group ΙΙ) in 24 patients (mean age 28.5 ± 8.4 years) on the femoral side. Evaluation included standardized anteroposterior (AP) and lateral radiography. The diameters of tunnels at the last follow-up visit (at a median time of 17 months postoperatively) were compared to those noted on radiographs taken 1 day postoperatively.
Results: The two groups were similar in terms of age and gender distribution, the operated side, the size of the tunnel created, and the follow-up period (n.s.). Femoral TW at the proximal and middle levels (on both AP and lateral views) in Group ΙΙ was significantly greater than in Group Ι (p < 0.050 for all comparisons). No significant difference in femoral TW at the distal level was evident between the groups, and tibial TW at all levels was similar in both groups (n.s.).
Conclusion: Femoral TW is less after EndoButton-Continuous Loop(®) fixation and not reduced after IS fixation. Surgeons should be aware of TW when selecting a fixation device for hamstring graft.
Level of evidence: Therapeutic, retrospective comparative study, Level III.