Satisfactory patient-reported outcomes at 5 years following primary repair with suture tape augmentation for proximal anterior cruciate ligament tears

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2022 Jan;30(1):253-259. doi: 10.1007/s00167-021-06485-z. Epub 2021 Feb 13.


Purpose: An enhanced understanding of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) healing and advancements in arthroscopic instrumentation has resulted in a renewed interest in ACL repair. Augmentation of a ligament repair with suture tape reinforces the ligament and acts as a secondary stabilizer. This study assesses the 5-year patient-reported outcomes of primary repair with suture tape augmentation for proximal ACL tears.

Methods: Thirty-seven consecutive patients undergoing ACL repair with suture tape augmentation for an acute proximal rupture were prospectively followed up for a minimum of 5 years. Patients with midsubstance and distal ruptures, poor ACL tissue quality, retracted ACL remnants and multiligament injuries were excluded. Patient-reported outcome measures were collated using the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcomes Score (KOOS), Visual Analogue Pain Scale (VAS-pain), Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12) and the Marx Activity Scale. Patients with a re-rupture were identified.

Results: Three patients were lost to follow-up leaving 34 patients in the final analysis (91.9%). The mean KOOS at 5 years was 88.5 (SD 13.8) which improved significantly from 48.7 (SD 18.3) preoperatively (p < 0.01). The VAS score improved from 2.3 (SD 1.7) to 1.0 (SD 1.5) and the VR-12 score improved from 35.9 (SD 10.3) to 52.4 (SD 5.9) at 5 years (p < 0.01). However, the Marx activity scale decreased from 12.4 (SD 3.4) pre-injury to 7.3 (SD 5.2) at 5 years (p = 0.02). Six patients had a re-rupture (17.6%) and have since undergone a conventional ACL reconstruction for their revision surgery with no issues since then. These patients were found to be younger and have higher initial Marx activity scores than the rest of the cohort (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Primary repair with suture tape augmentation for proximal ACL tears demonstrates satisfactory outcomes in 28 patients (82.4%) at 5-year follow-up. Six patients sustained a re-rupture and have no ongoing problems following treatment with a conventional ACL reconstruction. These patients were significantly younger and had higher initial Marx activity scores.

Level of evidence: Level IV.

Keywords: ACL; ACL repair; ACL rupture; Knee.

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries* / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Sutures
  • Treatment Outcome