Physiologic Preoperative Knee Hyperextension Is a Predictor of Failure in an Anterior Cruciate Ligament Revision Cohort: A Report From the MARS Group

Am J Sports Med. 2018 Oct;46(12):2836-2841. doi: 10.1177/0363546518777732. Epub 2018 Jun 8.


Background: The occurrence of physiologic knee hyperextension (HE) in the revision anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) population and its effect on outcomes have yet to be reported. Hypothesis/Purpose: The prevalence of knee HE in revision ACLR and its effect on 2-year outcome were studied with the hypothesis that preoperative physiologic knee HE ≥5° is a risk factor for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) graft rupture.

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

Methods: Patients undergoing revision ACLR were identified and prospectively enrolled between 2006 and 2011. Study inclusion criteria were patients undergoing single-bundle graft reconstructions. Patients were followed up at 2 years and asked to complete an identical set of outcome instruments (International Knee Documentation Committee, Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, WOMAC, and Marx Activity Rating Scale) as well as provide information regarding revision ACL graft failure. A regression model with graft failure as the dependent variable included age, sex, graft type at the time of the revision ACL surgery, and physiologic preoperative passive HE ≥5° (yes/no) to assess these as potential risk factors for clinical outcomes 2 years after revision ACLR.

Results: Analyses included 1145 patients, for whom 2-year follow-up was attained for 91%. The median age was 26 years, with age being a continuous variable. Those below the median were grouped as "younger" and those above as "older" (age: interquartile range = 20, 35 years), and 42% of patients were female. There were 50% autografts, 48% allografts, and 2% that had a combination of autograft plus allograft. Passive knee HE ≥5° was present in 374 (33%) patients in the revision cohort, with 52% being female. Graft rupture at 2-year follow-up occurred in 34 cases in the entire cohort, of which 12 were in the HE ≥5° group (3.2% failure rate) and 22 in the non-HE group (2.9% failure rate). The median age of patients who failed was 19 years, as opposed to 26 years for those with intact grafts. Three variables in the regression model were significant predictors of graft failure: younger age (odds ratio [OR] = 3.6; 95% CI, 1.6-7.9; P = .002), use of allograft (OR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.5-7.4; P = .003), and HE ≥5° (OR = 2.12; 95% CI, 1.1-4.7; P = .03).

Conclusion: This study revealed that preoperative physiologic passive knee HE ≥5° is present in one-third of patients who undergo revision ACLR. HE ≥5° was an independent significant predictor of graft failure after revision ACLR with a >2-fold OR of subsequent graft rupture in revision ACL surgery. Registration: NCT00625885 ( identifier).

Keywords: anterior cruciate ligament; graft failure; graft tensioning; knee hyperextension.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / physiopathology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Male
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Reoperation
  • Risk Factors
  • Rupture
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Young Adult

Associated data