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Am J Sports Med. 2011 Oct;39(10):2161-9. doi: 10.1177/0363546511411702. Epub 2011 Jun 28.

Quality of life and clinical outcome comparison of semitendinosus and gracilis tendon versus patellar tendon autografts for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: an 11-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1General Hospital Celje, Celje, Slovenia.



There are still controversies about graft selection for primary anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Prospective, randomized long-term studies are needed to determine the differences between the graft materials.


Eleven years after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction there is no difference in functional outcome and quality of life between patients with patellar tendon or hamstring tendon autografts; however, the patients with patellar tendon autograft would have a higher prevalence of osteoarthritis.


Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 2.


From June 1999 to March 2000, 64 patients were included in this prospective study. A single surgeon performed primary arthroscopically assisted anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in an alternating sequence. In 32 patients, anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction was performed with hamstring tendon autograft (semitendinosus and gracilis [STG] group) while in the other 32 patients the reconstruction was performed with patellar tendon autograft (PT group).


At the 11-year follow-up, no statistically significant differences were seen with respect to the Lysholm score and Short Form-36, KT-1000 arthrometer laxity testing, anterior knee pain, single-legged hop test, or International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) classification results. Positive pivot-shift test (1+) was significantly more frequent in the PT group (P = .036). Twenty-two patients (81%) in the STG group and 18 patients (72%) in the PT group were still at their preinjury level of activity. Graft rupture occurred in 2 patients from the STG group (6%) and in 4 patients from the PT (12%). Grade B and C abnormal radiographic findings were seen in 84% (21 of 25) of patients in the PT group and in 63% (17 of 27) of patients in the STG group (P = .008).


Both hamstring and patellar tendon autografts provided good subjective outcomes and objective stability at 11 years. Positive pivot-shift test (1+) was significantly more frequent in the PT group. No significant differences in the rate of graft failure were identified. Patients with patellar tendon graft had a greater prevalence of osteoarthritis at 11 years after surgery.

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