Quadriceps Tendon Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction in Skeletally Immature Patients: 3-Year Clinical and Patient-Reported Outcomes

Am J Sports Med. 2024 Jun 14:3635465241255641. doi: 10.1177/03635465241255641. Online ahead of print.


Background: The rate of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture in active, skeletally immature patients is increasing. Although hamstring tendon autograft (HTA) was previously deemed the gold standard, recent studies have shown HTA to have a high failure rate in this high-risk population of young competitive athletes, and quadriceps tendon autograft (QTA) has yielded excellent preliminary outcomes in some studies examining this population.

Purpose: To evaluate 3-year clinical and patient-reported functional outcomes of primary ACL reconstruction (ACLR) with soft tissue QTA in skeletally immature patients.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Skeletally immature patients who underwent ACLR with a full-thickness soft tissue QTA were included. Preoperative patient and surgical data were collected. The ACLR technique was selected predicated upon skeletal age and included all-epiphyseal and complete transphyseal techniques. Patients were followed for a minimum of 2 years with successive clinical visits or were contacted via telephone. Patients who did not have minimum 2-year follow-up after 3 contact attempts via telephone were excluded. Information regarding return to sports (RTS) and concomitant or subsequent surgical procedures was collected. Pediatric International Knee Documentation Committee (Pedi-IKDC), Hospital for Special Surgery Functional Activity Brief Scale (HSS Pedi-FABS), and Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation (SANE) scores were collected.

Results: Of 85 adolescent patients aged 11.1 to 17.6 years (mean age, 14.1 ± 1.2 years), 2 patients were determined to be lost to follow-up after 3 failed contact attempts. Of the patients included in this study (N = 83), 26 patients (31%) underwent all-epiphyseal and 57 patients (69%) underwent complete transphyseal ACLR. Additionally, 48 patients (58%) underwent concomitant lateral extra-articular tenodesis using the iliotibial band with a modified Lemaire technique. The mean follow-up time was 3.7 ± 1.2 years (range, 2-7 years). Twenty (24%) patients had subsequent surgical procedures, of which 3 (4%) were due to graft failures. At a mean 3-year follow-up, the mean Pedi-IKDC, HSS Pedi-FABS, and SANE scores were 90, 23, and 94 respectively; the RTS rate was 100%; and the rate of RTS at the previous level of performance was 93%.

Conclusion: Use of a soft tissue QTA for ALCR in a high-risk skeletally immature population of athletes resulted in excellent postoperative outcomes with low rates of graft failure and high return to sport rates.

Keywords: anterior cruciate ligament; knee; pediatric; quadriceps tendon autograft.