Patients Forget About Their Operated Knee More Following Arthroscopic Primary Repair of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Than Following Reconstruction

Arthroscopy. 2020 Mar;36(3):797-804. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2019.09.041. Epub 2020 Jan 7.


Purpose: To assess the extent to which patients forget their operative knee joint on a daily basis following arthroscopic primary repair as compared with reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at short- to mid-term follow-up.

Methods: For this retrospective study, all patients undergoing ACL surgery between May 2012 and May 2017 were identified. All patients were treated with the algorithm of undergoing arthroscopic primary repair for proximal tears and reconstruction for nonrepairable tears. Patients were contacted to complete the Forgotten Joint Score-12 questionnaire between 2 and 5 years following surgery. A greater score represents a more favorable outcome indicating the patient's ability to "forget" the joint in everyday life, whereas lower scores indicate a less-favorable outcome. Data were analyzed using independent t-tests and χ2 tests, and multiple linear regression analysis was performed to correct for potential confounders.

Results: Eighty-three patients completed the questionnaire (57%). Patients who underwent primary repair thought about their operated knee less when compared with those patients who underwent reconstruction (85.3 ± 14.2 vs 74.3 ± 23.3, P = .022). These differences were significantly greater in patients older than 30 years (85.3 ± 12.9 vs 62.6 ± 24.9, P = .007), male patients (85.0 ± 13.6 vs 72.5 ± 24.7, P = .037), and patients with a body mass index greater than 25 (85.9 ± 14.5 vs 64.7 ± 25.6, P = .009). After we corrected for potential confounders, the overall difference remained significant (P = .045).

Conclusions: Based on the data in this study, patients undergoing arthroscopic primary ACL repair can expect to have less daily awareness of their operated knee at short- to mid-term follow-up as compared with patients undergoing ACL reconstruction.

Level of evidence: Retrospective comparative study, level III.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / adverse effects*
  • Arthroscopy
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee / surgery
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult