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Int Orthop. 2006 Apr;30(2):104-9. Epub 2006 Feb 24.

Anterior cruciate ligament insufficiency: does delay in index surgery affect outcome in recreational athletes.

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Wrightington Hospital, 7, Calder Avenue, Nether Poppleton, York, YO26 6RG, UK.


The aim of the study was to see if delay in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction affects post-reconstruction outcome in recreational athletes. Sixty-two recreational athletes who had arthroscopic ACL reconstructions using quadruple hamstring grafts between 1997 and 2000 were retrospectively evaluated. Patients with less than 2 years' follow-up, those with multi-ligament injuries, reconstructions for previous failed repairs, those whose injury date was unknown, those with pre-injury Tegner activity level greater than 7 (competitive athletes) and those lost to follow-up were all excluded. Forty-six patients (38 males) were entered. The mean follow up was 38 months and the mean time from injury to index ACL reconstruction was 27 months. Apart from two revisions there were no other significant complications. Forty-one (89%) patients were evaluated in a review clinic. There was a significant improvement in the post-reconstruction Lysholm scores and an improvement in the Tegner scores. The Spearman's correlation coefficient between postoperative Lysholm score and the delay until surgery was -0.18 and the correlation coefficient between postoperative Tegner scores and the delay until surgery was 0.14. Thirty-five patients returned to sporting activity. Thirty-seven rated their knee as being normal or nearly normal and 35 said that their knee function was as they had expected it to be. Late ACL reconstruction does not adversely affect the outcome in recreational athletes. ACL reconstruction should be offered to these patients as there is a significant improvement in the knee function and patients are satisfied with the results.

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