Inferior graft maturity in the PL bundle after autograft hamstring double-bundle ACL reconstruction
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the signal/noise quotient (SNQ) for graft maturation and the serial changes observed in the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings after double-bundle (DB) anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction using a hamstring tendon autograft at a minimum of 5 years after surgery.
Forty-five patients who underwent DB ACL reconstruction between 2007 and 2010 were included in this prospective study. All participants underwent postoperative MRI at 3 weeks and 3, 6, 9 and 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 and 50 months. The signal intensity (SI) characteristics of the reconstructed graft were evaluated on oblique axial proton density-weighted MR imaging (PDWI) perpendicular to the grafts. The signal/noise quotient (SNQ) was calculated to quantitatively determine the normalized SI. The SNQ of the AMB and PLB was evaluated separately.
The mean SNQ of the AM bundle (AMB) continued to increase until 6 months after surgery (5.2 ± 1.2), and then gradually decreased and became well stabilized by 18 months (3.3 ± 0.5), after which it remained unchanged. On the other hand, the mean SNQ of the PL bundle (PLB) continued to increase until 9 months after surgery (6.2 ± 1.1), and then decreased incrementally and became well stabilized by 24 months (4.1 ± 0.5). The SI of PLB was significantly higher than that of AMB between 3 and 24 months (p = 0.04, 0.03, 0.01, 0.04, 0.02 and 0.03, respectively).
These results indicate that at least 18 months is needed after ACL reconstruction to sufficiently restore the SI of the AMB, while at least 24 months are needed to for the PLB. The SI of the PLB was significantly higher than that of the AMB at 3–24 months after surgery, indicating that the PLB showed inferior graft maturity to the AMB until 24 months after surgery. For clinical relevance, the correct understanding of serial changes in graft maturation may potentially be used in decision-making regarding a return to sports.
Level of evidence
Prospective case series, Level IV.
KeywordsAnterior cruciate ligament Magnetic resonance imaging Double bundle The graft maturation Signal intensity The signal/noise quotient
Anterior cruciate ligament
Posterior cruciate ligament
The signal/noise quotient
Proton density-weighted images
The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.
Ethical approval was obtained from institutional review board.
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