Putting Hamstring Grafts to the TestSurgeons can reconstruct a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee in several different ways. One technique involves taking a piece of the patient's hamstring tendon and using it to replace the torn ACL. Some doctors believe that this technique should not be used in chronic cases where the ACL ruptured several months before surgery.
These authors studied 120 patients who had the same type of ACL surgery using a hamstring tendon graft. Sixty-one patients had an ACL reconstruction within six weeks of their injury (the acute group). The remaining 59 patients had ACL reconstruction longer than six weeks after their injury (the chronic group). The goal of the study was to compare how well the two groups did after surgery.
The subjects were evaluated between two and six years after ACL reconstruction. They filled out questionnaires about their levels of pain and activity before surgery and at follow-up. They did physical tests of knee strength and stability. Researchers also checked subjects' medical records for information about their knee condition.
Results showed that, overall, ACL reconstruction using a hamstring tendon was successful. At follow-up in both groups, about 94% of the knees were rated as normal or nearly normal for function, with results being somewhat better in the acute group. The authors believe this may be because the chronic group tended to have more damage to other parts of the knee joint.
Vipool K. Goradia, MD, and William A. Grana, MD, MPH. A Comparison of Outcomes at 2 to 6 Years After Acute and Chronic Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstructions Using Hamstring Tendon Grafts. In Arthroscopy. April 2001. Vol. 17. No. 4. Pp. 383-392.
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