18 February 2019
To assess the percentage of patients achieving symmetrical knee function 6 months after primary anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction (ACLR) and to identify factors affecting its achievement, in a large cohort.
Data were extracted from our clinic database. Patients who underwent primary ACLR from 2000 to 2015 and were assessed with the isokinetic quadriceps and hamstring muscles strength tests and single-leg-hop test at the 6-month follow-up were included in the study. Demographic data, information on the graft used, cartilage injuries and concomitant meniscal surgery were reviewed. Patients who reached a limb symmetry index (LSI) of ≥ 90% in all three tests were considered to have achieved symmetrical knee function. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine whether patient age, gender, time from injury to surgery, pre-injury Tegner activity level, graft type, cartilage injury and the presence of medial meniscus (MM) or lateral meniscus (LM) resection or repair were factors associated with the achievement of symmetrical knee function 6 months after primary ACLR.
A total of 4093 patients (54.3% males) with a mean age of 28.3 ± 10.7 years were included. Data from all three tests were available for 3541 patients. The proportion of patients that achieved a LSI of ≥ 90% was 35.7%, 47.3% and 67.9% for isokinetic quadriceps muscle strength, hamstring muscles strength and the single-leg-hop test, respectively. A total of 693 patients (19.6%) achieved symmetrical knee function, reaching a LSI of ≥ 90% in all three tests. Older age (≥ 30 years) (OR, 0.50; 95% CI 0.41–0.61; P < 0.001), MM resection (OR, 0.75; 95% CI 0.57–0.98; P = 0.03) and MM repair (OR, 0.63; 95% CI 0.40–0.98; P = 0.04) reduced the odds, whereas the use of hamstring tendon (HT) autograft (OR, 2.28; 95% CI 1.51–3.45; P < 0.001) over bone–patellar tendon–bone (BPTB) autograft increased the odds of achieving symmetrical knee function.
Only 19.6% of the patients achieved symmetrical knee function 6 months after primary ACLR. Age ≥ 30 years, MM resection and MM repair reduced the chance, whereas the use of HT autograft over BPTB autograft increased the chance of achieving symmetrical knee function 6 months after primary ACLR. This study shows that most of the patients are yet to regain symmetrical knee function 6 months after primary ACLR and, moreover, it identifies several factors affecting its achievement in a large cohort. The results of this study should be used to counsel patients about their expected functional recovery and to optimize rehabilitation and maximize knee function after ACLR.