For patients who receive an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee reconstruction, a recent study shows that patients who have a hamstring tendon graft rather than a knee tendon graft fared better over the long term. For instance, those patients who had a hamstring tendon graft were less likely to suffer from pain and mobility issues in a fifteen year follow up post-surgery. These results were presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day in San Diego, California.
The lead researcher of the study, Leo Pinczewski, MD and Surgeon with the North Sydney Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center in Wollstonecraft, Australia, said that, "While we have seen excellent results in terms of knee symptoms and function with both graft types, comparing the two definitely showed differences…patients with a hamstring graft reported less knee pain and discomfort and demonstrated a higher activity level."
This study was done with a group of 180 knee reconstruction patients, half of which received a patellar tendon graft and the other half of which received a hamstring tendon graft. After 15 years, 80% of the PT group and 73% of the HT group were assessed based on their symptoms of pain, swelling and knee mobility.
Because ACL graft surgery is especially common among young athlete, there is often a push for quick results. Dr. Pinczewski stresses that, "We know that these surgeries work, but this information helps us determine which approaches can be most effective. Getting athletes back on the field is certainly important, but long term success rates are crucial as well.”
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine