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Bone plug fixation in anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: A clinical and radiological assessment of graft-tunnel integration

      Abstract

      Background

      The decision regarding graft choice and fixation in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction remains controversial. Free cylindrical bone plugs have been used successfully as graft fixation method. However, some concerns continue to exist regarding how well these plugs integrate with the bony walls of the tunnel. The aim of this study was to assess osteo-integration of free cylindrical bone plugs and to evaluate its effect on the clinical outcomes of the procedure.

      Methods

      From January 2015 to December 2017, 30 patients (21–40 years old) with torn ACL were operated on and followed up for 24 months after surgery. All patients were assessed clinically (International Knee Documentation Committee score (IKDC) and Tegner–Lysholm knee scoring system), instrumentally (KT 1000 and Rolimeter), and radiologically (X-ray, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging). Young active patients with torn ACL were included while those with previous ligamentous injury and/or surgery were excluded.

      Results

      All bone grafts showed solid bone healing after 6 months of surgery; incorporation was ‘good to excellent’ (tibial side: 66.6%; femoral side: 86.6%). There was no correlation between age or time interval and graft incorporation. Positive correlation was shown between tibial and femoral graft incorporation within the same patient. Only one patient was abnormal in our final objective IKDC scores (graded C). The mean side-to-side difference with KT 1000 and Rolimeter was 1.9 and 1.8, respectively.

      Conclusion

      Free cylindrical bone plugs could be used safely for hamstring tendon graft fixation; it enhances graft tunnel integration within the first 6 months and yields comparable clinical outcomes whilst avoiding the potential hazards of foreign hardware implants.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)
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