Role of tear location on outcomes of open primary repair of the anterior cruciate ligament: A systematic review of historical studies

Knee. 2017 Oct;24(5):898-908. doi: 10.1016/j.knee.2017.05.009. Epub 2017 Aug 10.


Background: The general opinion is that outcomes of open primary repair of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the historical literature were disappointing. Since good outcomes of primary repair of proximal tears have recently been reported, we aimed to assess the role of tear location on open primary repair outcomes in the historical literature.

Methods: All studies reporting outcomes of open primary ACL repair published between the inception of PubMed, Embase and Cochrane and 2000 were identified. Studies were included if tear location was reported. Outcome scores, return to sports, stability examinations, failures and patient satisfaction were collected and reviewed in the total study cohort and in a subgroup of studies treating only proximal tears. Spearman correlation analysis was performed between the percentage of proximal tears in the studies and all outcomes.

Results: Twenty-nine studies were included reporting outcomes of open primary in 1457 patients of which 72% had proximal and 23% midsubstance tears. Mean age was 30years, 65% were males, and mean follow-up was 3.6years. Good outcomes were noted in the total cohort, and excellent outcomes were noted following repair of proximal tears. Positive correlation was found between the percentage proximal tears in the studies and percentage satisfied patients (p=0.010).

Conclusion: Tear location seems to have played a role on the outcomes of open primary ACL repair. Outcomes of open primary repair in patients with proximal tears were excellent, which confirms there may be a potential role for primary repair as treatment for proximal ACL tears.

Keywords: Anterior cruciate ligament; Open primary repair; Primary ACL repair; Systematic review; Tear location.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / history*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / history*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / methods
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome