Results of a new study to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine (AOSSM) suggest that the type of material used in creating new ligament during Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery plays a key role in determining how long the reconstruction is functional.
"Our study results highlight that in a young athletic population, allografts (tissue harvested from a donor) fail more frequently than using autografts (tissue harvested from the patient)," said Craig R. Bottoni, MD, lead author from Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. "After following the patients for 10 years, more than 80 percent of all grafts were intact and had maintained stability. However, those patients who had an allograft, failed at a rate more than three times higher than those reconstructed with an autograft. This study was also of only one type of allograft (Tibialis Posterior). Therefore, we can make a strong statement about that type and not necessarily extrapolate to other types of allografts, most notably those with bone, i.e. BTB or Achilles."
Bottoni and his team, followed 99 patients who had used either an autograft or allograft for their ACL reconstruction. All allografts were from a single tissue bank, aseptically processed and fresh frozen without terminal irradiation. Graft fixation was identical in all knees. All patients followed the same post-operative rehabilitation protocol. The primary outcome measures were graft integrity, subjective knee stability and functional status.
"By better understanding why and how grafts fail in ACL reconstructions, we can increase the life span of these procedures and minimize future surgeries where feasible," said Bottoni.