The aim of this study was to compare the 30-year follow-up results after treatment of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures with 3 different surgical procedures.
A total of 150 patients with acute rupture of the ACL who were managed between 1986 and 1988 were randomized into 1 of 3 open repair methods: acute primary repair (n = 49), acute repair with a synthetic ligament augmentation device (LAD) (n = 50), or reconstruction with an autologous bone-patellar tendon-bone (BPTB) graft with retention of the ACL remnants (n = 51). The 30-year follow-up included evaluation of clinical findings, the Tegner and Lysholm questionnaires, radiographic examination, and registration of revisions and knee arthroplasties.
A total of 113 patients (75%) were available for the follow-up evaluation; 39 patients were in the primary repair group, 39 in the LAD group, and 35 in the BPTB group. Through telephone calls and investigation of patient medical records, 40 of these patients were excluded from further analyses because of revision surgery, knee arthroplasty in the involved or contralateral knee, or ACL reconstruction in the contralateral knee. One patient in the BPTB group had undergone revision ACL reconstruction compared with 12 in the primary repair group (p = 0.002) and 9 in the LAD group (p = 0.015). Seven patients had undergone knee arthroplasty in the involved knee, with no significant difference among the groups. In the remaining patients, no significant differences were found among the 3 groups with regard to range of motion, laxity, or Tegner and Lysholm scores. Radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis, defined as an Ahlbäck grade of 2 through 5, was found in 42% of the operatively treated knees, with no significant differences among the groups.
In the present 30-year follow-up results of a randomized controlled study, the BPTB graft augmented with the remnants of the ruptured ligament provided superior results with regard to the number of revisions compared with both the primary repair and LAD groups. No significant differences were found with respect to range of motion, laxity, activity, function, radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis, and knee arthroplasties.
Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level I
. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.