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Autologous Hamstring Anterior Cruciate Ligament Graft Failure Using the Anteromedial Portal Technique With Suspensory Femoral Fixation: A Case Series of 7 Patients

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Autologous Hamstring Anterior Cruciate Ligament Graft Failure Using the Anteromedial Portal Technique With Suspensory Femoral Fixation: A Case Series of 7 Patients

Balazs Galdi et al. Orthop J Sports Med.

Abstract

Background: The anteromedial portal technique for drilling of the femoral tunnel during anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction has been advocated by many surgeons as allowing improved access to the anatomical footprint. Furthermore, suspensory fixation of soft tissue grafts has become popularized because of complications associated with cross-pin fixation. Concerns regarding the use of both have recently arisen.

Purpose: To raise awareness of the increased risk of graft failure when using the anteromedial portal technique with suspensory femoral fixation during ACL reconstruction.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: From November 1998 to August 2012, a total of 465 primary ACL reconstructions were performed using quadrupled hamstring autograft tendons, with drilling of the femoral tunnel performed via the transtibial portal. Graft fixation on the femur was achieved with cross-pin fixation, while interference screw fixation was used on the tibia. From September 2012 to October 2013, there were 69 reconstructions performed through an anteromedial portal. While there was no change in graft choice, a change was made to using suspensory femoral fixation. No other surgical or postoperative rehabilitation changes were made.

Results: During the 14-year period in which ACL reconstructions were performed via the transtibial portal and with cross-pin fixation, 2 graft failures (0.4% failure rate) were reported. After switching to the anteromedial portal with suspensory fixation, 7 graft failures (10.1% failure rate) were reported over a 13-month period. These were 5 male and 2 female patients, with a mean age of 18.8 years-all elite athletes. The same surgical technique was used in all patients, and all patients had at least an 8 mm-diameter graft. Patients were cleared to return to sport at an average of 8.4 months postoperatively, after completing functional performance tests. Of the 7 patients, 6 sustained a rerupture of the graft within 2 weeks of returning to full competition. The final patient sustained a rerupture 10 months after being cleared to play.

Conclusion: Compared with the transtibial technique with cross-pin graft fixation, there is an increased risk of graft failure when performing autologous hamstring ACL reconstructions using the anteromedial portal technique with cortical suspensory fixation.

Keywords: anterior cruciate ligament; anteromedial; cross-pin fixation; graft failure; suspensory fixation; transtibial.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declared that they have no conflicts of interest in the authorship and publication of this contribution.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Images taken during (A) initial surgery and (B) second-look arthroscopy 6 months later on a patient who underwent anteromedial anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with suspensory femoral soft tissue fixation. Significant fraying of the anterolateral fibers of the graft was noted at second surgery.

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