Twenty-Year Outcome of a Longitudinal Prospective Evaluation of Isolated Endoscopic Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction With Patellar Tendon or Hamstring Autograft

Am J Sports Med. 2016 Dec;44(12):3083-3094. doi: 10.1177/0363546516658041. Epub 2016 Aug 4.


Background: Long-term prospective studies of isolated endoscopic anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction are limited and may include confounding factors.

Purpose: This study aimed to compare the outcomes of isolated ACL reconstruction using the patellar tendon (PT) autograft and the hamstring (HT) autograft in 180 patients over 20 years.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: A total of 180 participants undergoing isolated ACL reconstruction between 1993 and 1994 were prospectively recruited. Evaluation was performed at 1, 2, 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years after surgery and included the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) knee ligament evaluation with radiographic evaluation, KT-1000 arthrometer side-to-side difference, and subjective scores.

Results: Over 20 years, there were 16 patients (18%) and 9 patients (10%) with an ACL graft rupture in the HT and PT groups, respectively (P = .13). ACL graft rupture was associated with male sex (odds ratio [OR], 3.9; P = .007), nonideal tunnel position (OR, 3.6; P = .019), and age <18 years at the time of surgery (OR, 4.6; P = .003). The odds of a contralateral ACL rupture were increased in patients with the PT graft compared with patients with the HT graft (OR, 2.2; P = .02) and those aged <18 years at the time of surgery (OR, 3.4; P = .001). The mean IKDC scores at 20-year follow-up were 86 and 89 for the PT and HT groups, respectively (P = .18). At 20 years, 53% and 57% of the PT and HT groups participated in strenuous or very strenuous activities (P = .55), kneeling pain was present in 63% and 20% of the PT and HT groups (P = .018), and radiographic osteoarthritic change was found in 61% and 41% of the PT and HT groups (P = .008), respectively.

Conclusion: Compared with patients who received the HT graft, patients who received the PT graft had significantly worse outcomes with regard to radiologically detectable osteoarthritis, kneeling pain, and contralateral ACL injury. At 20-year follow-up, both HT and PT autografts continued to provide good subjective outcomes and objective stability. However, further ACL injury is common, particularly in male individuals, younger patients, and those with tunnel malposition.

Keywords: anterior cruciate ligament; knee; long-term outcome; reconstruction.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / methods*
  • Autografts
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Hamstring Muscles
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / surgery*
  • Ligaments, Articular / surgery
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis / surgery
  • Patellar Ligament / surgery*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tendons / transplantation
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult