Anatomic ACL reconstruction reduces risk of post-traumatic osteoarthritis: a systematic review with minimum 10-year follow-up
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To systematically review the literature for radiographic prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA) at a minimum of 10 years following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction (ACLR) with anatomic vs. non-anatomic techniques. It was hypothesized that the incidence of OA at long-term follow-up would be lower following anatomic compared to non-anatomic ACLR.
A systematic review was performed by searching PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library, for studies reporting OA prevalence by radiographic classification scales at a minimum of 10 years following ACLR with autograft. Studies were categorized as anatomic if they met or exceeded a score of 8 according the Anatomic ACL Reconstruction Scoring Checklist (AARSC), while those with a score less than 8 were categorized as non-anatomic/non-specified. Secondary outcomes included graft failure and measures of knee stability (KT-1000, Pivot Shift) and functional outcomes [Lysholm, Tegner, subjective and objective International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) scores]. OA prevalence on all radiographic scales was recorded and adapted to a normalized scale.
Twenty-six studies were included, of which 5 achieved a score of 8 on the AARSC. Using a normalized OA classification scale, 87 of 375 patients (23.2%) had diagnosed OA at a mean follow-up of 15.3 years after anatomic ACLR and 744 of 1696 patients (43.9%) had OA at mean follow-up of 15.9 years after non-anatomic/non-specified ACLR. The AARSC scores were 9.2 ± 1.3 for anatomic ACLR and 5.1 ± 1.1 for non-anatomic/non-specified ACLR. Secondary outcomes were relatively similar between techniques but inconsistently reported.
This study showed that anatomic ACLR, defined as an AARSC score ≥ 8, was associated with lower OA prevalence at long-term follow-up. Additional studies reporting long-term outcomes following anatomic ACLR are needed, as high-level studies of anatomic ACLR are lacking. The AARSC is a valuable resource in performing and evaluating anatomic ACLR. Anatomic ACLR, as defined by the AARSC, may reduce the long-term risk of post-traumatic OA following ACL injury to a greater extent than non-anatomic ACLR.
Level of evidence
KeywordsAnterior cruciate ligament ACL reconstruction Osteoarthritis Anatomic Checklist
There was no funding for this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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