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[Patellar tendon-bone autograft reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament for advanced-stage chronic anterior laxity: is an extra-articular plasty necessary? A prospective randomized study of 100 patients with five year follow-up].

[Article in French]

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Département de Chirurgie Orthopédique et de Traumatologie, CHU de Caen, avenue Côte de Nacre, 14033 Caen Cedex.



This prospective randomized study was conducted to analyze the anatomic and functional impact of an extra-articular lateral plasty associated with patellar tendon-bone autograft in anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.


A consecutive series of 100 patients with grade II (Noyes classification) chronic anterior laxity confirmed on stress x-rays were included in the study. All patients had a positive Trillat-Lachman test, a direct anterior drawer at 90 degrees flexion confirmed on the lateral x-ray, and an instrumental differential laxity greater than 5 mm (manual arthrometry, Medmetric KT1000). Mean patient age was 27 years (range 16-29 years) and time from the accident to ligamentoplasty was 29 months (range 3-156 months). In the operating theater, the patients were assigned at random to two groups. Group 1 (50 patients) underwent arthroscopic free patellar tendon-bone autograft reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament. In the second group (50 patients) the same reconstruction was further supported by a lateral extra-articular plasty using the quadriceps tendon. All patients were followed prospectively. At 58 months follow-up (none of the patients were lost to follow-up) residual laxity (Medmetric KT1000) was noted and functional outcome was assessed using the IKDC criteria. The Aglietti method was used to assess the position of the drill holes.


The two groups were strictly identical at inclusion. At last follow-up, the statistical analysis did not reveal any significant difference between the groups for subjective outcome, joint motion, instrumental residual laxity, meniscal stock, or radiological changes. The overall IKDC score was A or B in 80% of the patients in group 1 and 88% of the patients in group 2. Delay to resumed sports activities (about 12 months) was also equivalent in the two groups with a trend towards lower intensity and sports producing less stress on the knee. A minimally positive pivot test with no effect on stability was observed in 4 patients in group 1 (intra-articular plasty alone) and in 2 patients in group 2 (intra- and extra-articular plasty). 16% of the insufficient results (IKDC C and D) were related to repeated tears (n=8, 6 patients in group 1 and 2 patients in group 2, p=0.268), and failure (n=8, 4 in each group) due to defective motion and pain. Repeated tears were strongly correlated with incorrect drill hole position in the tibia (p=0.01) or femur (p=0.024). Despite the stabilization, radiological remodeling was observed in 31% of the patients in both groups.


The results in this consecutive series of patients demonstrated the good results obtained with intra-articular ligamentoplasy using the mid third of the patellar tendon. The rate of repeated tears or minimally positive pivot tests was higher in group 1 with intra-articular plasty alone but did not reach statistical significance and was generally related to a technical error in positioning the autograft, making it difficult to draw any conclusion concerning the anatomic superiority of mixed plasty.


At the current follow-up of 5 years, this study was unable to demonstrate any advantage of systematic conjunction of an extra-articular lateral support for advanced chronic anterior laxity of the knee treated by a free patellar tendon graft.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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