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Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)-deficient knee with degenerative arthrosis: treatment with an isolated autogenous patellar tendon ACL reconstruction

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We evaluated 58 patients (mean age 30.4 years) who had undergone an isolated anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction for chronic instability (mean time from injury to surgery, 8.2 ± 5.2 years) and showed radiographic evidence of degenerative arthrosis. Objective evaluation at a mean of 4.1 years postoperatively included KT-1000 arthrometer stability, range of motion, and quadriceps muscle strength testing. Subjective analysis at a mean of 5.5 years postoperatively included rating of pain, stability, activity level, and a total score both preoperative and postoperative. Patients were divided into two groups: group 1 (n = 28) with a follow-up ≤ 5 years (mean 3.3 years); group 2 (n = 30) with a follow-up > 5 years (mean 7.2 years). Results were analyzed by length of follow-up and by the grade and compartment of arthrosis. All patients enjoyed a full range of motion preoperatively and postoperatively. The mean KT-1000 arthrometer manual maximum difference improved from a mean of 8.2 mm preoperatively to 2.4 mm postoperatively. All subjective scores showed statistically significant improvement over the preoperative values. Patients with medial compartment arthrosis reported a better subjective total score (mean 87) than patients with lateral compartment (mean 73) or bicompartmental (mean 79) arthrosis, but there was not a statistically significant difference. There was no correlation between pain, stability, or total scores and time after surgery. Patients in groups 1 and 2 had equal objective stability and similar subjective scores, but group 2 reported a lower activity level. An isolated ACL reconstruction can provide long-term stability and symptomatic pain relief in patients with chronic instability and arthrosis. The procedure has low morbidity and does not compromise future tibial osteotomy or total knee replacement.

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Received: 16 September 1996 Accepted: 1 March 1997

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Shelbourne, K., Stube, K. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)-deficient knee with degenerative arthrosis: treatment with an isolated autogenous patellar tendon ACL reconstruction. Knee Surgery 5, 150–156 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001670050043

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  • Key words Anterior cruciate ligament
  • Arthrosis
  • Chronic instability