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Am J Sports Med. 2019 Mar;47(3):560-566. doi: 10.1177/0363546518825255. Epub 2019 Feb 7.

ACL Repair With Suture Ligament Augmentation Is Associated With a High Failure Rate Among Adolescent Patients.

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Children's Hospital Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, USA.
School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, USA.



The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair technique avoids graft harvest and therefore the risk of donor site morbidity. However, early failure rates after ACL repair with suture ligament augmentation (SLA) remain high.


To compare surgical failure, functional outcomes, return to sport, and joint laxity between adolescents who underwent ACL repair with SLA and those who underwent ACL reconstruction with quadriceps tendon-patellar bone autograft (QPA).


Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.


Adolescent patients (7-18 years old) underwent ACL repair with SLA or ACL reconstruction with QPA. The authors collected data from those who had postoperative information pertaining to repaired ligament or graft failure, range of motion, complications, and return to sport at a minimum of 6 months after surgery. Participants were contacted after surgery to complete study questionnaires.


The cohort included 22 consecutive patients in the SLA group and 157 in the QPA group. The median duration of follow-up was 2.7 years (interquartile range, 2.0-3.6 years) in the QPA group and 3.2 years (2.2-3.4 years) in the SLA group. After adjustment for sex, age, body mass index, and time from injury to surgery, the hazard of graft failure in the SLA group was 10.66 times (95% CI, 3.41-32.92; P < .0001) that of the QPA group. The cumulative incidence of graft failure in the first 3 years after surgery was 48.8% (95% CI, 28.9%-73.1%) in the SLA group, as opposed to 4.7% (2.1%-10.3%) in the QPA group. There was no difference in return to sport between the groups. Among individuals who did not rerupture their ACL, International Knee Documentation Committee and Lysholm scores were comparable between the groups, as well as range of motion.


The risk of failure was significantly increased in the SLA group relative to the QPA group. The high risk of failure for the SLA group in this short-term follow-up should be considered when selecting the treatment for adolescent patients with an ACL injury.


ACL; ACL reconstruction; ACL repair; pediatric sports medicine


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