Arthroscopic primary repair of proximal anterior cruciate ligament tears: outcomes of the first 56 consecutive patients and the role of additional internal bracing

  • Anne Jonkergouw
  • Jelle P. van der ListEmail author
  • Gregory S. DiFelice



Recent outcomes of arthroscopic primary repair of proximal anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears have been promising in small cohort studies. The purpose of this study was to assess outcomes of arthroscopic ACL repair in a larger cohort and to assess the role of additional augmentation.


The first 56 consecutive patients that underwent arthroscopic ACL repair were examined at minimum 2-year follow-up. The latter 27 patients [48.2% (27/56)] received additional internal bracing with ACL repair. All 56 patients were included (100% follow-up). Mean age at surgery was 33.5 ± 11.3 years (59% male) and mean follow-up 3.2 ± 1.7 years. Clinical examination was performed using the objective International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) form. Subjective outcomes were obtained using the Lysholm, modified Cincinnati, Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation (SANE), and subjective IKDC scores.


Six repairs (10.7%) failed and four additional patients underwent reoperation (7.1%): two for meniscus tears and two for suture anchor irritation. Objective IKDC scores were A in 38 (73%), B in 8 (15%) and C/D in 6 (12%) patients. Mean Lysholm score was 94 ± 7.6, modified Cincinnati 94 ± 8.9, SANE 90 ± 12.5, pre-injury Tegner 6.7 ± 1.5, current Tegner 6.2 ± 1.5, and subjective IKDC 90 ± 10.9. Failures rates were 7.4% with and 13.8% without internal bracing (P = 0.672). There were no statistically significant or clinically relevant differences in subjective outcomes.


Arthroscopic primary repair has resulted in good objective and subjective outcomes at 3.2-year follow-up in a carefully selected population. The role of additional internal bracing is possibly beneficial, but larger groups are needed to assess this.

Level of evidence



Knee Anterior cruciate ligament Primary repair Primary ACL repair Proximal ACL tear 



Anterior cruciate ligament




International Knee Documentation Committee


Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation


Standard deviations



No funding has been received for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Gregory S. DiFelice is a paid consultant for Arthrex and receives research funding from Arthrex, and Jelle P. van der List is a paid consultant for Arthrex. Anne Jonkergouw declares no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery, Arthroscopy (ESSKA) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Trauma Service, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital for Special SurgeryNewYork-Presbyterian, Weill Medical College of Cornell UniversityNew YorkUSA

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