A Comparison of Two-Year Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Clinical Outcomes Using All-Soft Tissue Quadriceps Tendon Autograft With Femoral/Tibial Cortical Suspensory Fixation Versus Tibial Interference Screw Fixation

Arthroscopy. 2022 Mar;38(3):881-891. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2021.06.024. Epub 2021 Jul 9.


Purpose: To contribute to future quadriceps tendon harvest and fixation guidelines in the setting of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction by comparing 2-year patient-reported subjective knee outcome scores and incidence of graft-related complications between the shorter harvest all-inside tibial-femoral suspensory fixation (TFSF) approach versus the longer harvest standard tibial interference screw fixation technique.

Methods: Patients who underwent primary anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with all soft tissue quadriceps tendon autograft from January 2017 to May 2019 were identified for inclusion. Patients were matched into 2 cohorts of 62 based on reconstruction technique. All patients completed baseline and minimum 2-year International Knee Documentation Committee, Tegner Activity Level, and Lysholm questionnaires and were queried regarding subsequent procedures and complications to the operative knee.

Results: Average graft length for the all-inside TFSF was 69.55 (95% confidence interval 68.99-70.19) mm versus 79.27 (95% confidence interval 77.21-81.34) mm in the tibial screw fixation cohort (P = .00001). Two-year Lysholm scores were greater in the TFSF cohort (P = .04) but were not clinically significant. There was no difference in 2-year International Knee Documentation Committee (P = .09) or Tegner (P = .69) scores between cohorts, but more patients in the TFSF cohort returned to or exceeded their baseline activity level compared with the tibial screw fixation cohort (73% vs 61%, P = .25). Seven patients in the TFSF cohort versus 13 in the tibial screw fixation cohort reported anterior knee pain or kneeling difficulty (P = .22). There were no differences in reported complications.

Conclusions: All-inside soft-tissue quadriceps tendon autograft with TFSF resulted in clinically comparable subjective outcome scores at 2 years to tibial screw fixation. There were also no differences in complications or reports of anterior knee pain or kneeling difficulty. All-inside TFSF can be a viable alternative to tibial screw fixation for all-soft tissue quadriceps autograft.

Level of evidence: III, comparative therapeutic trial.

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries* / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction* / methods
  • Autografts
  • Bone Screws
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Tendons / transplantation