Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine critically the outcomes of patients sustaining a quadriceps tendon rupture and to compare outcomes in patients with bilateral simultaneous ruptures versus a unilateral rupture.
Design: Retrospective review.
Setting: Patients were treated at a Level I trauma center.
Patients/participants: Fifty-one quadriceps tendon ruptures in thirty-nine patients were evaluated. A mean four-year follow-up (range 13 to 204 months) was available for forty-eight tendon ruptures.
Interventions: All patients except one were treated with operative repair of the quadriceps tendon rupture(s).
Main outcome measurements: Patients were assessed by physical examination, Lysholm and Tegner scores, a functional questionnaire, quadriceps isokinetic testing, and radiographs.
Results: A statistically greater number of patients in the bilateral simultaneous rupture group had a systemic illness associated with tendon rupture (p = 0.014). This result did not adversely affect outcome as compared with patients with unilateral ruptures. Mean range of motion was 123 degrees in injured knees. Eighty-four percent of working patients returned to their previous occupations. More than half the patients, however, in general the most active, could no longer participate in their preinjury recreational activities. Fifty-three percent of unilateral rupture patients had persistent quadriceps strength deficits (>20 percent) in the injured extremity. Both quadriceps and hamstring isokinetic testing correlated significantly with Lysholm and Tegner scores.
Conclusions: Most patients with bilateral simultaneous and unilateral tendon repairs can expect a good range of motion and return to their previous occupation, but many have persistent weakness and difficulty returning to higher level sporting activities.