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The use of allograft tissue in posterior cruciate, collateral and multi-ligament knee reconstruction

Abstract

Purpose

Currently both autograft and allograft tissues are available for reconstruction of posterior cruciate, collateral and multi-ligament knee injuries. Decision-making is based on a complex interplay between anatomical structures, functional bundles and varying biomechanical requirements. Despite theoretically better biological healing and reduced risk of disease transmission autografts are associated with donor site morbidity as well as being limited by size and quantity. The use of allografts eliminates donor-site morbidity but raises cost and issues of clinical effectiveness. The purpose of this paper is to review current concepts and evidence for the use of allografts in primary posterior cruciate, collateral and multi-ligament reconstructions.

Methods

A narrative review of the relevant literature was conducted for PCL, collateral ligament and multi-ligament knee reconstruction. Studies were identified using a targeted and systematic search with focus on recent comparative studies and all clinical systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The rationale and principles of management underpinning the role of allograft tissue were identified and the clinical and functional outcomes were analysed. Finally, the position of postoperative physiotherapy and rehabilitation was identified.

Results

The review demonstrated paucity in high quality and up-to-date results addressing the issue especially on collaterals and multi-ligament reconstructions. There was no significant evidence of superiority of a graft type over another for PCL reconstruction. Contemporary principles in the management of posterolateral corner, MCL and multi-ligament injuries support the use of allograft tissue.

Conclusion

The present review demonstrates equivalent clinical results with the use of autografts or allografts. It remains, however, difficult to generate a conclusive evidence-based approach due to the paucity of high-level research. When confronted by the need for combined reconstructions with multiple grafts, preservation of synergistic muscles, and adapted postoperative rehabilitation; the current evidence does offer support for the use of allograft tissue.

Level of evidence

IV.

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Fig. 1

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Strauss, M.J., Varatojo, R., Boutefnouchet, T. et al. The use of allograft tissue in posterior cruciate, collateral and multi-ligament knee reconstruction. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 27, 1791–1809 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-019-05426-1

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Keywords

  • Posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
  • Collateral ligaments
  • Multiligaments
  • Allografts
  • Graft choice
  • Decision-making
  • Autografts