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Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2016 Sep;24(9):2998-3004. doi: 10.1007/s00167-015-3608-6. Epub 2015 Apr 26.

Do graft diameter or patient age influence the results of ACL reconstruction?

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Centre Hospitalier Départemental de La Roche sur Yon (La Roche-sur-Yon), Les Oudairies, 85100, La Roche-Sur-Yon, France.
Orthopaedic Department, North Mayenne Hospital, 53100, Mayenne, France.
, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL, 60611, USA.
Orthopaedic Department, North Mayenne Hospital, 53100, Mayenne, France.



Hamstring tendons are commonly used as a graft source for ACL reconstruction. This study seeks to determine whether either the diameter of the tendon graft or the age of the patient influences the outcome of the ACL reconstruction when measured using a standard, previously validated laxity measurement device.


This is a retrospective study of 88 patients who underwent ACL reconstruction with a short, quadrupled tendon technique, using the semitendinosus ± gracilis tendons. Patients included in this study were sequential, unilateral, complete ACL ruptures. The patients were followed for a minimum of 1 year postoperatively, with a mean follow-up of 26 months. Patients were divided into three groups according to the diameter (Ø) of the graft: group 1 (32 patients): 8 mm ≤ Ø ≤ 9 mm; group 2 (28 patients): 9 mm < Ø ≤ 10 mm; and group 3 (28 patients): Ø > 10 mm. Three groups with differential laxity at 134 N (Δ134 = healthy side vs. operated side) measured with the laximeter GNRB(®) were compared. The risk of residual laxity (OR) between the three groups taking age, gender, BMI and meniscus status into account was calculated. A side-to-side laxity >3 mm was considered as a residual laxity.


The mean patient age at the time of reconstruction was 29.4 years. The three groups were comparable. Postoperative Δ134 was 1.50 ± 1.3, 1.59 ± 1.5 and 2 ± 1.7 mm for groups 1 through 3, respectively. Δ134 > 3 mm was observed in three patients in group 1, four patients in group 2 and nine patients in group 3. As compared to group 1, OR was 1.46 (95 % CI 0.35-6.05) and 3.31 (95 % CI 0.89-12.34) in groups 2 and 3, respectively. Adjustment for age, gender, BMI and meniscus did not change the estimates [OR 1.44 (95 % CI 0.34-6.16) and 3.92 (95 % CI 1-15.37)] in groups 2 and 3, respectively. Patients younger than 20 had a significantly higher average postoperative laximetry (2.4 ± 1.5 mm) compared to those aged 20 years and over (1.5 ± 1.5 mm) (p = 0.03), regardless of the diameter of the graft.


The diameter of the graft between 8 and 10 mm does not affect the laximetric results of an ACL reconstruction. Therefore, there does not appear to be a benefit to harvesting and adding further tissue to increase the diameter of the graft above 10 mm. Patients younger than 20 represent a population at risk of graft elongation. In these patients at risk, postoperative management needs to be modified (delayed weight bearing, articulated splinting, slower rehabilitation) in the first months.


Retrospective case series, Level IV.


Anterior cruciate ligament; Hamstring tendons; Knee; Residual laxity; Short graft; TLS screw

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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